It’s weird how things have gone for the Ottawa Senators. Less than ten months ago this organization almost made the Stanley Cup Finals, a little over three months ago they made a deal for Matt Duchene to try improve the team and then… well… %#!& hit the fan.
It’s gotten to the point where they’re set on dealing arguably the best player their organization has ever seen, and one of the best players in the league. Pure insanity.
There’s no way for the Senators to win this deal, they simply have to try not get robbed, which will be difficult from a hockey perspective. To complicate things, ownership wants to shed Bobby Ryan’s horrible deal, which will only lessen the return. This deal will set the franchise back years, yet they seem to be past the point of no return.
The Sens will need to involve a third team if they want to make this work, but where could Erik Karlsson land when all is said and done? I have some options:
THE LOGICAL FIT – TAMPA BAY
There were jokes being thrown around Twitter during this year’s all-star game that Erik Karlsson loved Tampa Bay. Now those jokes have turned into legitimate rumours.
Tampa would no-doubt love to bolster their lineup for a pair of Stanley Cup runs, and from a Senator’s perspective, there probably isn’t an organization that could offer what the Lightning can.
Tampa has every single one of their draft picks for the next three years, which will interest the Senators. Add to that a plethora of high-end young talent that could be the centerpiece of this deal. Brayden Point, Vlad Namestnikov, Jake Dotchin and Mikhail Sergachev would all likely be brought up by Pierre Dorion.
If Karlsson goes before the deadline, common sense leads you to believe it will be the Lightning who pull it off.
STAYING EAST – WASHINGTON
Rumours are flying around here on deadline day that the Capitals are in on Karlsson.
The fit makes sense and you could see why Washington would want Karlsson, I mean, how deadly would a Karlsson-Backstrom-Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Oshie powerplay unit be?
In terms of what they could offer, look at Madison Bowey and maybe even Andre Burakovsky as young players who could step into the Sens lineup. They also Christian Djoos and Jakub Vrana who have burst onto the scene this year.
Any deal would likely mean the end of Washingtons current Carlson, John. That might help Washingtons case because they could dangle Carlson to another team to help recoup some assets.
EXPANSION OPTION – VEGAS
At first, I shook my head at the idea of Vegas, but the more I think about it, the more I think there may be a fit.
Vegas could offer one of their young defenders like Shea Theodore, or maybe they decide it’s worth parting with one of their few prospects like Erik Brannstrom, Cody Glass or Nick Suzuki.
Also, if Vegas wants a “franchise” player or a superstar type to continue to bring in fans for years to come, there isn’t a more available option than Karlsson.
For Ottawa, it would get Karlsson out of the Eastern Conference and Vegas does have the cap space to take Bobby Ryan, which they clearly value.
RUMOURED – SAN JOSE & NASHVILLE
Pierre LeBrun noted on Twitter that San Jose is among several teams who have touched on Karlsson, but he struggled to see a fit. While the Sharks have the cap space and draft picks, they don’t really have a ton of ‘A’ level young talent. Still, their interest is worth noting.
Nashville has been mentioned as well, and they’re maybe a better fit, but I don’t see a need for them to add Karlsson with Subban and Josi on their roster. Obviously, he’d be an upgrade on Ellis or Ekholm, but I’d imagine the Preds would rather use their assets for a forward. If the Preds did decide to go for it, they do have the young pieces and picks. Cap space might be a problem though.
Both teams have been rumoured, but I just don’t see a fit.
LONG SHOT – EDMONTON
Erik Karlsson and Connor McDavid on the same team would be something truly special
Frank Seravalli joined The Lowdown with Lowetide last week and described it as everything Edmonton needs “plus, plus, plus”, and I would imagine Edmonton would explore the possibility.
They wouldn’t be able to take on Bobby Ryan’s contract, so a third team would need to be involved. But the Oilers have all their picks for the next three years, young d-men like Klefbom and Nurse as well as a few prospects like Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Benson.
There are few teams who would bolster up an offer like the Oilers could. With all that said, Karlsson has to agree to go to Edmonton and I’m not sure if the Oilers would be in a position to re-sign Karlsson next summer, so it’s a long-shot.
IMPOSSIBLE – TORONTO
The Ottawa Senators will never trade their franchise player to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but damn is it ever a fit.
The Leafs have cap space, draft picks and even young players like Nylander, Reilly, and Marner to center the deal around. Toronto has also a need for an elite level d-man. The fit is so perfect if you completely ignore the fact it’s Toronto-Ottawa, for that reason, it will never happen.