Can’t get enough NHL rumors? Lyle Richardson’s weekly Rumor Roundup column serves as a one-stop guide to the latest rumblings around the league.
The Senators won’t trade defenseman Erik Karlsson during the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas.
That’s the word from Senators general manager Pierre Dorion, responding to a question over his captain’s future during a Tuesday town hall-style meeting with 300 season-ticket holders. The Ottawa Sun’s Ken Warren also reports Dorion intends to table an eight-year contract extension to the Senators captain July 1.
Senators fans are understandably worried over Karlsson’s future in Ottawa. The 27-year-old defenseman has a year remaining on his current contract, after which he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. Prior to the Feb. 26 trade deadline, there was speculation linking Karlsson to the Golden Knights.
It’s rumored the Karlsson camp could seek between $80 million and $100 million. Those figures could prove too expensive for the small-market Senators.
While Dorion doesn’t intend to move Karlsson at the draft, he could meet with interested teams during the draft to establish a framework for a potential trade if contract talks with the All-Star blueliner fall through later in the summer.
Teams that explored a Karlsson deal before the trade deadline, such as the Golden Knights and Sharks, could revisit their interest this summer. On Monday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggested the Rangers could get into the bidding. While the Blueshirts are engaged in a rebuild, it’s not a massive roster tear-down. Former Boston Globe reporter Fluto Shinzawa also felt Karlsson could be a good fit with the Rangers as he could fast-track their rebuild.
Pacioretty’s days numbered in Montreal?
Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty was the frequent subject of trade speculation this season. While the Habs ultimately retained their 29-year-old captain, his future in Montreal remains uncertain.
Like Karlsson, Pacioretty is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent status. He’s often spoken of his desire to stay with the Canadiens but recently acknowledged the possibility of an offseason trade.
TSN’s Darren Dreger isn’t ruling out the possibility of Pacioretty getting dealt this summer. He doesn’t know if the Canadiens received a formal trade offer for the winger before the trade deadline but noted they did set a high asking price.
Pacioretty lacks no-trade protection, giving the Canadiens a wide market to deal with if they decide to shop him. Interested clubs could include the Panthers, Kings and Blues, as they were linked to Pacioretty in the rumor mill prior to the trade deadline.
Blackhawks’ Anisimov a trade candidate?
A rising salary cap will give the Blackhawks some much-needed relief for next season. However, there’s talk they could consider freeing up additional payroll by shopping center Artem Anisimov.
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times floated the possibility during his analysis of the Hawks’ offseason plans. He pointed out Anisimov’s no-movement clause reverts to a partial no-trade on July 1.
The 29-year-old center is signed through 2020-21 with an annual average value of $4.55 million. Moving him could free up space to address other roster needs.
Perhaps the Blues could have some interest in Anismov. Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes they need to bolster their firepower next season. Gordon suggests such trade targets as Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly. Anisimov, however, would be a more affordable fit in both salary and return.