The Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators seem to be inextricably linked this season. While GM Joe Sakic and the Avalanche were cheering on every Ottawa loss as a step closer to a top draft pick, Senators GM Pierre Dorion now gets his own chance to hope for a Colorado defeat. The Senators are one of two non-playoff teams hoping the San Jose Sharks can overcome the Avalanche tonight and advance another round. That’s because of the conditions on the Erik Karlsson trade from last season, which state that if the star defenseman re-signs in San Jose another second-round pick will change hands. That pick will upgrade to a first-round selection in 2021 if Karlsson re-signs and the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup final this season.
While obviously the Sharks want to win the Stanley Cup, just reaching it would certainly make any extension talks with Karlsson more interesting. The team has already traded away their first pick in this year and next year’s draft, meaning they could end up without one until 2022. There hasn’t been any indication which way Karlsson leans so far, as he is instead focused on the playoff run ahead of him. Sharks GM Doug Wilson though has always tried to retain his rental acquisitions, as evidenced most recently by the seven-year extension for Evander Kane.
The Senators aren’t the only team watching the outcome though, as the Detroit Red Wings also have some skin in the game. The Red Wings will see their 2020 third-round pick acquired for Gustav Nyquist upgrade to a second if the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup final this season or if he re-signs with them. Again, Nyquist has fit in quite nicely with the Sharks and could be a candidate for an extension, but the condition makes it more difficult from a San Jose perspective.
Obviously the Sharks would need to win another series against the rolling St. Louis Blues in order to get to the final, but they’ll have to get past the Avalanche tonight. As they try to slow down Nathan MacKinnon and company, they’ll have some cheerleaders from the Eastern Conference.