While The Ottawa Senators have been rebuilding their team, Erik Karlsson has been very public about his contract status with the team. Karlsson, widely perceived as the best defenseman in the NHL, wants to be paid like it. However, the Senators have been hesitant to pay the 2 time Norris winner, and 4 time all star. Rumors have been flying about Karlsson’s future with the Senators. He is set to hit the market in the summer of 2019. Should the emerging Bruins make an effort to land the superstar defenseman in a trade?
The price to land a player of Erik Karlsson’s caliber is bound to be high. With a year and a half left on his contract, the Bruins may have leverage in trade talks. Ottawa would obviously want a young defenseman in return, to secure the backend for years to come. For most, Carlo is the name that would come to mind. However, the young defenseman is dealing with issues handling the puck in his own zone. Thus, his trade value is not at a high at the moment. It will take more than that to persuade the Senators to move on from the face of their franchise. Adding a Schaller or reluctantly, Heinen, to sweating the deal for the Senators, could potentially get it done.
The real question becomes, are the Bruins willing to depart from two highly touted prospects for one plus year of Erik Karlsson? Karlsson has made it very clear he is going to the market, and getting paid. Even if the Bruins move on from Carlo, and another player, they are going to have to bid on Erik Karlsson, just like the every other team. Are the Bruins ready to move on from Carlo already? Only a year ago he was the most promising defenseman in the Bruins organization.
If Karlsson decides to move on after his contract is up, the Bruins will have set themselves back in the rebuilding stage, and will remain in the same position they are in now. On the face, trading for a player with Karlsson’s capabilities seems like a no brainer, but this could be one of the biggest choices Sweeney has to make.
Adding Karlsson to this team instantly makes them a cup contender. This is how scary good Erik Karlsson is already. Bruins fans got to see this last year, when the Senators knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs. The elite puck movement ability this stud defenseman possesses, adds another element to a team’s offense. He has excellent long range passing, and stretches opposing teams out. This opens up more ice through the neutral zone, and limits the fore-check. Karlsson is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. He is able to consistently carry the puck up ice, creating odd man rushes.
One of the knocks on the superstar has been his lackluster performance in his own zone, he currently has a -16 rating on the season. However, playing over 26:00 minutes a night, for 7 straight seasons, can have an effect on a player’s rating. Especially when Karlsson is tasked with being the Senators best offensive player, as well as their best defensive player. The offensive ability that Karlsson has, makes up for any deficiencies on the defensive end.
If the price was Carlo, and a lower level player like a Beleskey or Acciari, Sweeney should have made that deal yesterday. However, if the price is Carlo, and a Debrusk or Bjork, the deal becomes harder to swallow. Adding Karlsson to this team could affect the franchise for a decade, good or bad. If Sweeney could get a wink and a nod from Karlsson’s side that he will resign or negotiate, the Bruins could get Karlsson long term. No price is too high.