Erik Karlsson’s ongoing summer trade saga involving the has come a long way since the Senators superstar reportedly rejected a contract extension offer. That was July 1 and ostensibly sealed his future. It’s now Aug. 23, Karlsson remains in Ottawa, and where he’ll play in 2018-19 and beyond remains the NHL’s biggest mystery.
Apparently, the one place he won’t be playing is Canada.
Karlsson, a pending unrestricted free agent after 2018-19, won’t consider re-signing with a Canadian franchise if he’s traded to one, NBC Sports’ Kathryn Tappen reported Thursday. He’s intent on playing in a United States market, the report said, whether it’s this season or in 2019-20.
Sources say star defenseman Erik Karlsson is not willing to sign with a Canadian team. He wants to play in a U.S. market. #NHLRumors
— Kathryn Tappen (@KathrynTappen) August 23, 2018
That followed a report 24 hours earlier from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicting the Canucks had recently become involved in trade talks.
The Lightning, Stars, Golden Knights and Sharks are the teams that reportedly engaged in the most advanced discussions for Karlsson, to varying degrees. Tappen’s report obviously bodes well for them.
Whichever team acquires the Senators captain would seek a long-term commitment from Karlsson’s camp, preferably prior to giving up the significant assets it will take to complete the trade. That doesn’t guarantee anything, but it’s another glimpse into Karlsson’s thought process.
What it does mean, if there were any doubt, is that his time in Ottawa is finished.