Senators superstar and captain Erik Karlsson reportedly wants out of Ottawa. Here are four reasons why Jim Nill and the Stars should trade for him.
1. He would solve Dallas’ blue line issues
The Stars’ biggest issue last season was arguably their lack of success on defense. With Dan Hamhuis as a free agent who the Stars are highly unlikely to re-pursue and Greg Pateryn on his way to Minnesota, the Stars are going to need help in the defensive department. Dallas did pick up Roman Polak on a one-year deal, but he isn’t the long-term solution Jim Nill is looking for.
Karlsson, who is only 28-years-old, has spent his 9 seasons in the NHL with the Senators. He has a total of 518 career points (126 G, 392 A) in 627 games. Karlsson has put up great numbers in recent years, recording 215 points (42 G, 173 A) in the past three seasons alone.
He has also won the Norris Trophy (given to the league’s best defenseman) twice, and been the runner-up twice. Although he has suffered through some ankle/foot injuries in the past, he is an elite defenseman who would serve as a huge asset to the Stars.
If Karlsson ends up in Dallas, here is what I envision the defensive lineups would look like:
Lindell – Klingberg
Methot – Karlsson
Johns – Heiskanen
Other players: Honka, Polak
2. Karlsson has several connections to the Stars
Erik, weirdly enough, has several relationships with many players on Dallas’ roster. He was linemates with Marc Methot before he was selected by Vegas (then subsequently traded to Dallas) in the expansion draft.
Karlsson also played with longtime Senator Jason Spezza. In addition to Methot and Spezza, Stars’ goaltender Ben Bishop played for Ottawa from 2011-2013. Karlsson and Dallas’ elite youngster, John Klingberg, were also both born in Sweden.
Karlsson has lots of contacts in Dallas. Let’s hope some of them ring Erik up.
3. It looks like Karlsson wants to leave Ottawa
This reason might be the biggest asset to not only the Stars, but any team in the league that isn’t the Senators.
According to CBC, the Senators offered Karlsson an extension that would give the Swede $80 million over 8 seasons. However, if Karlsson wanted to stay in Ottawa, chances are he would’ve taken the deal.
The main reason might be because the Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Drew Doughty for $88 million over 8 years (11 AAV), and Karlsson might want “Doughty money.”
Tensions also boiled over in the Ottawa locker room last season, which resulted in Mike Hoffman’s departure. Karlsson had accused Hoffman’s fiance, Monika Caryk, of harassing Karlsson’s wife on social media over the loss of the Karlssons’ stillborn son.
In addition to the locker room drama, Karlsson was also seen taking a puck off the ice after the last home game of the season in Ottawa, maybe to serve as a memento for his time in Ottawa.
Maybe it’s something, maybe it’s nothing. Who knows.
4. Dallas has the resources to make the trade
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If Dallas is going to trade for Karlsson, they have the ability to do it. The Stars only have $10.6 million in cap space, so they will have to send away one or two roster players to free up space to extend Karlsson’s contract. In contrast, the Senators have just under $17.7 million in available cap space. In reality, the Stars would probably have to give up a few roster players and draft picks in exchange for Karlsson.
A potential trade I could see would be Radek Faksa, Julius Honka, and Dallas’ 2019 1st round and 2020 1st (or 2nd) round pick for Karlsson. There are rumors that Miro Heiskanen might be a part of the deal, but I strongly doubt that Nill would be willing to give him up. Heiskanen has a high ceiling for potential and could join Klingberg as the prominent future of the Dallas blue line.
If possible, Dallas might try to send Jason Spezza back to the Senators. Spezza, who has a cap hit of $7.5 million, played in Ottawa for 12 years, from 2002-2014. If Senators GM Pierre Dorion is trying to reignite history, that might be something to look for.
After the Stars lost the John Tavares race, Jim Nill should look to get Erik Karlsson. He is an elite, superstar defender who would have an immediate impact on the Stars.