Imagine a team with Connor McDavid and Erik Karlsson. Just think about it.
Seriously, it might take a few moments to clear your mind and allow yourself to visualize it because it seems so far-fetched, but once you’re there, it’s borderline erotic.
It’s no mystery that Karlsson’s days in Ottawa are numbered. The two-time-but-should-be-four-or-five-time Norris Trophy winner is set to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1, 2019 for the first time in his career.
Eugene Melnyk, the owner of the Sens, doesn’t want to dish out the cash it’s going to cost to keep the league’s best defenceman in Ottawa. I mean, hell, Melnyk was at a point in February in which he apparently spazzed out at Karlsson because he owed him $350 for an Uber trip. If he’s stressing about $350, imagine how he’ll respond when Karlsson’s agent rolls in with a contract demand worth more than $10 million annually.
The Sens had a disastrous season in 2017-18 much like the Oilers did. They came within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, went into the off-season with the swagger of a legitimate contender, leaned so far into it that they paid an obscene price for Matt Duchene, subsequently imploded, and then blew the team up, dealing away Derrick Brassard and Dion Phaneuf prior to the deadline. Next up is inevitably going to be Karlsson.
We know the Oilers need a right-handed defenceman who can produce offence. How about the best offensive defenceman of this generation by a damn country mile who also happens to have a right-handed shot? Sure!
Okay, so we’ve established that…
- The Sens don’t want to pay Karlsson and want to recoup assets for him before letting him walk.
- The Oilers could use Karlsson’s skills on their blueline.
- Anything is possible if you’re willing to believe.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. How hard would you go to acquire Erik Karlsson? How worthwhile is the dream of McDavid and Karlsson on the same team, even if it only lasts for one year?
Karlsson currently owns a $6,500,000 cap hit for one more season. That really isn’t all that difficult to fit into your team’s salary cap spreadsheet. A bunch of other teams are going to be calling and asking for Karlsson, so the price tag isn’t going to be cheap. The Sens are going to be asking for a player who can help them right now, like Oscar Klefbom, likely Edmonton’s 10th overall pick, and probably sweeteners on top of that like Kailer Yamamoto and/or Jesse Puljujarvi. Obviously that’s a massive price to pay for a player who could very easily walk after just one season.
There might be a way to lower Karlsson’s price. Take on Bobby Ryan’s albatross contract. This is something that was floated around (and gawked at by Ottawa media) prior to the trade deadline. Like I said, Kalrsson’s $6,500,000 isn’t that much to take on especially given the fact the salary cap is set to take a pretty big jump this summer. Ryan is owed $7,250,000 for four more years and taking him on for the cheap Sens would be a massive favour.
But he won’t sign here, right? It isn’t possible, even if he wanted to form the league’s most insane duo, that the Oilers, walking the tightrope over the abyss known as Cap Hell, could manage to fit him in, right? Well, what if the deal involved sending back an $8,500,000 cap hit the other way? The Sens would surely love to do some kind of rebuild around a top centre like Leon Draisaitl, right?
So, what say you, Nation? What would you pony up to acquire Erik Karlsson? Is it worthwhile? Is the possibility of a McDavid and Karlsson duo so attractive you would sell off assets like Klefbom, Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, and more for him? Would you take on Ryan’s awful deal to make the pill easier to swallow? Could sending Draisaitl back the other way mean Karlsson could actually stick around long-term? Have I lost my mind?!?