NHL Rumor Roundup: What’s next for Erik Karlsson and the Senators?

Can’t get enough NHL trade rumors? Lyle Richardson’s weekly Rumor Roundup column serves as a one-stop guide to the latest rumblings around the league. 

Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson was the biggest name in the market heading toward Monday’s NHL trade deadline. While the deadline passed with the 27-year-old superstar still a Senator, his long-term future in Ottawa remains uncertain. 

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported the Golden Knights and Lightning were among six teams attempting to acquire the 26-year-old superstar. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman said Vegas came the closest, offering up “probably about six pieces,” including players and draft picks and willingness to take on Bobby Ryan’s contract. 

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion remains hopeful of re-signing Karlsson, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2019. On Tuesday, the Senators captain said he never requested a trade and is open to signing a long-term extension.  

MORE: NHL trade deadline winners and losers

However, the Ottawa Sun’s Wayne Scanlan is skeptical, noting Dorion’s willingness to entertain offers could make a contract extension unlikely. His colleague Ken Warren believes there will be more teams with interest in Karlsson this summer, increasing the possibility of the Sens receiving an irresistible offer. 

The Golden Knights could revisit their interest in Karlsson this summer. They still possess depth in draft picks, prospects and young players to make a competitive bid.  

Vegas has over $46 million invested in 17 players for 2018-19, with James Neal, David Perron, William Karlsson and Shea Theodore as their notable free agents. Should the Golden Knights re-sign all of them, they’ll still have sufficient cap space to add Karlsson’s current $6.5 million salary cap hit for next season and perhaps enough to offer him a lucrative long-term extension.

The Lightning also inquired about Karlsson. However, their acquisition of defenseman Ryan McDonagh from the Rangers takes them out of this summer’s potential sweepstakes for the Senators superstar.

Karlsson probably won’t be the only player the Senators get inquiries about this summer. Bruce Garrioch reported the Jets and Sharks were among several Western Conference teams interested in winger Zack Smith, while the Blues pursued Mike Hoffman since midseason. 

MORE: Grading every trade made on 2018 deadline day

Does Evander Kane have a future in San Jose?

The Sharks landed one of the notable trade candidates before the deadline, acquiring Evander Kane from the Sabres. The 26-year-old left wing wasted little time making an immediate positive impression with his new team, collecting two assists in the Sharks’ 5-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday.

Kane is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but his tenure in San Jose could extend beyond this season. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted the Sharks carry over $20 million in salary cap space for 2018-19. That’s more than enough to re-sign the winger if he plays well over the remainder of this season. 

While Kane has a history of questionable off-ice behavior, he’s shown more maturity over the last two years. He could also also benefit from playing alongside respected Sharks stars such as Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Joe Thornton once he returns from injury.

As this is Kane’s contract year, it’s in his best interest to play well if he hopes to secure a lucrative new deal this summer.

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Blues could be busy this summer

The most startling deal of this year’s trade deadline saw the Blues ship veteran center Paul Stastny to the Jets. Stastny, 32, didn’t appear in any media trade chatter leading up to deadline day, making move all the more surprising.  

Blues GM Doug Armstrong seems to be giving up on the season. Thanks in part to a lack of scoring depth, his club has tumbled out of a playoff spot. By moving out one of the Blues’ best playmakers without bringing in a replacement, he failed to address their offensive woes.

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It wasn’t for lack of effort on Armstrong’s part. The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reported the Blues GM had talks with the Senators regarding winger Mike Hoffman and the Canadiens about left wing Max Pacioretty. Armstrong, however, was unwilling to part with a top young prospect such as Klim Kostin, Jordan Kyrou, Tage Thompson or Robert Thomas. 

How the Blues finish this season could determine Armstrong’s course of action this summer. Should they fail to reach the playoffs, perhaps he’ll shake up his roster by revisiting his interest in Hoffman or Pacioretty.

Article source: http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/news/nhl-trade-rumors-2018-free-agents-erik-karlsson-evander-kane-blues-golden-knights/1f9iamppnhvmj1hgxhelk4hbm1

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