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WWYDW: How hard would you go to acquire Erik Karlsson?

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.

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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…

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  • 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?!? 


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  • TKB2677

    I think the Karlsson talk needs to be put to bed. Leon is a hell of a player and is a #1 center on pretty much every NHL team except maybe 4 or 5 teams yet people already complain about Leon and his 8.5 mill being too much and screwing their cap. How on earth can anyone justify Karlsson and a salary that will be 9 or 10 mill?
    Plus what’s the cost to get him. Are you sending out so many assets you end up with McDavid, Karlsson and not much else?

    • The Future Never Comes

      Complete waste of time, this is fantasy land talk. If were going to talk pure nonsensical speculation, than maybe they would take Lucic and Sekera in return for Karlsson!!! Wouldn’t that be dandy.

      • Osmosis_jones

        Here’s the deal – Karlsson for Nuge, Klefbom and the 1st pick. If Ryan has to come the other way, we send Sekera and some other salary dump like Montoya. That evens out the money and gives us the greatest offensive defenseman since Paul Coffey in his prime.

    • Arfguy

      FFS thank you for saying that. Any conversation about Karlsson would basically involve players like RNH, Draisaitl, Klefbom, Nurse, etc. going the other way.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I have already been through this on the various hockey forums and the offers are of course anywhere from not enough to ridiculous from the Oilers standpoint but if we acquired Karlsson and he agreed to sign long term if we did, then the Sens would have every right to ask for the moon and stars in return. I could easily see them getting this year’s and next year’s 1st rounders as well as Nurse, or likely from the Oilers side, Klefbom, especially if we sign Karlsson to likely $10 mil/per like he’d likely want? But I don’t want the guy for just one year.

    • crabman

      I think that is exactly what it would cost the Oilers to get Karlsson. The thought of him feeding passes to our forwards is intriguing and if he was signed at $10M or less that would be a reasonable trade for someone of his skill. But this could only work if the Oilers weren’t tied to Russell and Sekera and their NMC. It is possible to move 1 or both of them after next year but no guarantee. If Klefbom, and his $4.17M, was moved out 1 of the Sekera or Russell would play 2LD and the other would need to be moved and replaced with a $1Mish bottom pair LD to even try and squeeze Karlsson in under the cap. Not impossible but with so many varying factors I’d pass on that trade.

  • ubermiguel

    Current contract ends in a year? Will probably get $10mill/year after that? I suggest we run screaming in the other direction. I’ve said it before, I don’t think we can trade our way out of the problem Chiarelli has traded us into. Draft, develop, sign veteran wingers on the cheap, don’t get cute with trades.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    I think he’ll be going to San Jose. They’ll also make a play for Tavares if they can? They have @20 mil in cap room if it goes up to $80mil.
    + Thorton will be off the books, I believe?

  • Rama Lama

    Absolutely nothing……..price is too high! Given PC’s track record I suspect he would offer the whole team, and then try and convince us it’s what the market is dictating.

    I say keep the pick, draft well and make the trade later when we have a real GM.

    • The Whispererer

      So you would sacrifice the next 10 years of JP + the next 10 years of Bear + the next 10 years of whoever we pick at 10th ( remember when Barzal went at 16th ? ) for 1 year of Karlsson ?

        • Kepler62c

          Man your crazy, only way I’m including any 1st round picks as an NHL GM is conditional, Karlsson signs for 8 years in 2019 summer then sure, I’ll fork over a couple 1st’s in 2020 and 2021 that are going to be in the 25-30 range. But no way would I be paying a top prospect (like JP), a top 10 overall pick, and a promising prospect (like Bear) for a year of Karlsson and the CHANCE at resigning him. Personally, I think Melnyk will want too much for 1 year and that chance and no one will pay it, Karlsson will walk at seasons end or get moved at the deadline for a much smaller package than Melnyk wanted.

  • Oil Vice

    Not worth it. I’m not convinced that he’ll be able to reach the same level as we’d expect him to and it would take too many of our limited number of tradable assets. Oilers are always forced to overpay, combined with the desperation that Chiarelli is bound to operate with, it could be catastrophic to the long term development of this team.

  • Finnaggled

    Why would ottowa want to pay leon his 8.5 mil if they dont want to pay the leagues best dman 10? Not going to happen. He’ll end up in vegas with bobby ryan

  • CMG30

    It’s always worthwhile to go hard on top players. As long as there is reasonable belief that he would resign here then everyone except mcdavid would be available

  • Spydyr

    Only way it works is if you get permission to talk to him and his agent and get a multi year deal in place. I can’t see that happening.

    Revisit it again at the trade deadline if you are making the playoffs and he is still available.

  • FutureGM

    If any GM does not ask to talk to Karlsson to see his interest in a short term deal for big $ you arent doing your job. If he took a 1 or 2yr [email protected] 11Million/yr deal to win now (Oilers prob wouldn’t be choice 1A for him) which would allow him to still cash in on a ling term deal as a UFA after you have to explore it.
    Ottawa loves cost controlled guys meaning KBom and even Russell could go back (easy to trade Russell for a pick at the dealine after the next yr).
    Kbom, Russell, LHD prospect, a pick and a Caggulia type guy for 2 or 3 yrs is golden. If he wants an 8 yr deal for max $, have fun getting paid Erik. hope your greedy ass never wins a cup

  • Fire Woodcroft!

    No way we could afford even one year of Karlsson with the Uggos the Oil are currently paying big $$ to.

    If you don’t have the cap space and your boat anchors weighing you down all have NMCs it makes it pretty hard to get in on opportunities like this.

    So keep the pick and use it to draft the NEXT Karlsson. (yeah – I know his name is Dahlin. I mean draft the next one after him….)

  • Kybra

    I’d rename my daughters Erik and Karl. If I had daughters…
    No really though, I’d do a sign and trade for 8yrs/11M and send Nuge, Nurse, and the #10 the other way. Lefties are easy to replace. By my count it’s only adding a Mil to the cap

    • The Whispererer

      1. Can’t do a sign and trade before July 1st.
      2. Your cap estimate doesn’t include the cost ( at least $5 million ) of replacing Nuge in the forward group or the opportunity cost of losing Nurse and the #10 pick. God willing and the creek don’t rise, the Oilers won’t have the opportunity of picking that high again for the next 8 years.

      • Kybra

        I know, it was a knee jerk comment. Actually just joined, was my first comment. It’s nice to dream, tho…
        I’m a die hard Oil fan and like how Nuge and Connor click on the top line. I hope Chia is taking notes at the WHC. They need a strong, smart veteran on that line, not a first or second year player. Palmieri would be about right. Wonder if NJ would make another deal and let PC save some face. He makes 4.6 and NJ likes him in the second line, but he plays better in the first.
        I honestly don’t think Karlsson leaves Ottawa unless someone takes on Ryan’s contract, or someone has foyr real good pieces to give. Neither of those scenarios is Edmonton. I hope we pick in the first round, but I think PC’s seat is too hot for that to happen.

  • Jerri Kurli

    Tempting but I’d steer clear. The numbers don’t work and at his age he’s not worth giving up your beat young assets for. The only trades I would be trying to do is lose expensive contracts like Sekera and Lucic, and bring in young inexpensive talent. Keep drafting, keep developing…… you can’t cut corners to build a champion.

  • McRaj

    Reading the comments on here is too funny. Maybe people don’t realize how good EK is. he Has 6 elite seasons left in him. EK is going to go down as a top 10, likely top 5 all time D man. Draft and develop? Yeah that has worked out so damn well. I have full faith that EK would re-sign here. Sens want cheap players and draft picks. Puju, Nurse, and next year’s first round pick. Get the deal done, EK is that good. Find a way to get rid of Sekera, Russ, and Lucic afterwards. Get the deal done. A top 4 of EK, Klef, Larsson, and one of sekera/russ will be fine.

    • The Whispererer

      No one disagrees about EK’s quality.
      If you were talking about a trade on or after July 1st when he can be signed to a long term deal i believe you would see a substantially different trend in the comments.

      • McRaj

        I am operating under the assumption that EK would be re-signed. Looking at comments here, many people would refuse to pay a price for even a signed EK. That is what concerns me about our fan base. One year of EK? Sure, I agree that is too steep a price to pay. But 6 seasons of elite EK, heck yeah.

        • FutureGM

          Don’t assume. There is no reason to do that deal without first talking to player & agent and having a deal in place before trading. Term is the biggest thing for me.
          I agree the Drai is a no starter is absurd, gotta move good players to get great ones.

        • Moneyball

          90%+ of the time the team the player goes to sign him long term. This would be no different. Anybody with any hockey iq would move pieces to get Karlsson. The sens owner wants to shavesalary and I can’t blame him with the team going tot he conference finals and having a barren stadium. I think he wants to make some money rather than win the cup. Time to put forward an offer.

          • The Whispererer

            90% ? OK then. I don’t have access to that level of statistics so i’ll have to take your word for it. Just like i have to take EK’s public statements at face value when he said he intends to wait until 2019 to test free agency and the sole determining factor in his decision where to play will be the highest bidder.

      • crabman

        @sintaxi, If Karlsson puts together another 5 or 6 elite offensive seasons. He absolutely puts himself in the top all time conversation. He already has 2 Norris trophies and could add a few more before he is done. If he could add a cup or 2 it would be no doubt top 5 all time. He is already a guarantee 1st ballot hall of famer and he is only 27.

        • crabman

          let me rephrase, not #1 all time. In the conversation as one of the best all time. He is already the most offensively dynamic defenceman of his generation and has years of prime left in him.

  • OilCan2

    Let some one else chase Karlsson unless we can unload Lucic on Ottawa.
    The time is NOW to go with our own young guys. Sekera should be back strong. Nurse, Klefbom, Larsson & Russell are solid. Bear should be able to make a case for himself at camp and I would be interested to see how Caleb Jones looks then too.

  • socaldave

    If Karlsson had more than 75% of an ankle left, maybe, and I mean MAYBE I’d think about putting together something for him. He’s past his best by date.

    • crabman

      McDavid didn’t get max contract, although I’m sure he would have if he asked. No way Karlsson gets a max deal. With the cap continuing to go up Karlsson would get almost $17M per on a max contract next summer. The cap is set to go up to around $80M and in another year if it was to go up 5% , could be more could be less, that would bring the cap to $84M. A max deal I’d 20% of the cap. or $16.8M if an $84M cap. No way he gets paid that. a bidding war might get him up to $12M but I would expect it to be closer to $10M.

  • Arfguy

    I wouldn’t. Erik Karlsson is one of the best defencemen to ever play the game. His game is absolutely perfect for this team. However, the price will always be too high. Hockey people will look at what Ottawa gave up to get Matt Duchene and wonder if the price was too high. Imagine the price the Oilers would have to pay for someone that is considered even higher calibre.

    If the Oilers brass is considering trying to make a play for Erik Karlsson, they will regret it in 4-6 years time.