NHL Rumor Roundup: Erik Karlsson trade chatter re-heats after summer cooldown

Erik Karlsson (Getty Images)

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

In early July, there was considerable trade speculation involving Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. The 28-year-old Senators captain had rejected a contract extension offer and was reportedly being shopped, with the Stars and  Lightning thought to be the front-runners. 

Since mid-July, however, the Karlsson trade chatter had died down. Last week, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was patiently waiting for the right return and doesn’t intend to just give the superstar away.

With August winding down and training camp just over three weeks away, the Karlsson rumor mill is lurching back into action. 

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Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said Wednesday “there’s a sense” those trade talks recently started up again. He added the  Canucks may have stepped into the bidding to see if they’re a possible fit. 

Prior to Friedman’s report, Garrioch also wondered if the Canucks, as well as the Ducks , might kick the tires on a Karlsson deal. He felt both clubs have the assets to make a deal. Garrioch also claimed the Stars, Lightning, Golden Knights and Sharks remain interested. 

The Canucks’ apparent interest in the Senators blueliner comes a month following the surprising departure of former president of hockey operations Trevor Linden. It’s believed Linden didn’t see eye-to-eye with ownership over the Canucks rebuild, as he preferred a more patient approach. 

Canucks GM Jim Benning has stockpiled some good young assets that might entice the Senators. He probably won’t part with young winger Brock Boeser but could offer up a promising prospect such as center Elias Pettersson, defenseman Olli Juolevi or 2018 seventh overall pick Quinn Hughes as part of a package deal.

Two big stumbling blocks, however, stand between the Canucks and Karlsson. He carries a modified no-trade clause and could be unwilling to join a club currently in the midst of a rebuild. Benning would also probably want to speak with the Karlsson camp regarding a contract extension before agreeing to a trade. 

The Ducks, meanwhile, carry considerable blueline depth in Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Montour and Josh Manson. Package any one of those guys with, say, promising Jacob Larsson among other assets and Senators management could listen. However, the Ducks’ biggest need is for young, fast scoring forwards. Adding Karlsson wouldn’t address that issue.

How will the Oilers replace Andrej Sekera?

The Oilers received bad news last week as Andrej Sekera underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. The 32-year-old defenseman is sidelined indefinitely, raising concerns his playing days could be over. 

GM Peter Chiarelli acted quickly, signing former Capitals defenseman Jakub Jerabek to a one-year deal. However, the Edmonton Sun’s Jim Matheson points out Jerabek lacks Sekera’s puck-moving abilities. Matheson considers him a stopgap measure until Sekera’is placed on long-term injured reserve, freeing up cap space to perhaps pursue better alternatives later in the season. 

Matheson  recently examined several of those options. One is promoting a promising youngster such as Evan Bouchard or Ethan Bear. Another is signing a more experienced free agent like Toby Enstrom, Luca Sbisa, Paul Martin, Kevin Bieksa or Johnny Oduya

Chiarelli could also look into the trade market. The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples wonders if Justin Faulk of the  Hurricanes could become a target.  

Faulk, 26, is a top-four right-shot rearguard carrying a reasonable $4.8 million annual cap hit. Staples suggests the asking price might be affordable, pointing out the Hurricanes recently shipped winger Jeff Skinner to the Sabres for a prospect forward and three draft picks.

Skinner, however, is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He also carried a full no-movement clause and didn’t give the Hurricanes many preferred trade destinations. Rather than have Skinner’s status hanging over their heads entering the new season, the Hurricanes wanted him gone and accepted the best available offer. 

Faulk, on the other hand, is signed through 2019-20 and has a 15-team list of acceptable trade options. The Hurricanes can take their time and wait for better offers. Their asking price is likely to be considerably more than what they accepted for Skinner.  

NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty noted the Oilers had been linked to Bruins defenseman Torey Krug in the rumor mill earlier this year. He wondered if they might be willing to part with forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a package including Krug. 

Haggerty acknowledged, however, the Bruins aren’t in any rush to trade Krug. If the Oilers were pursuing him, they’re not going to part with Nugent-Hopkins, who developed terrific chemistry skating alongside superstar center Connor McDavid.