It appears that Erik Karlsson isn’t the biggest fan of maple syrup and tracking speed using kilometres per hour.
Recent reports from multiple sources suggest that the 28-year-old has no intention of signing with a Canadian team.
Word is Erik Karlsson does not want to sign an extension with a Canadian team. #Sens
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) August 23, 2018
Sources say star defenseman Erik Karlsson is not willing to sign with a Canadian team. He wants to play in a U.S. market. #NHLRumors
— Kathryn Tappen (@KathrynTappen) August 23, 2018
This news comes only a day after Hockey Night in Canada insider Elliotte Friedman tweeted that the Swedish star may be heading West sooner rather than later.
All of this media attention has turned figuring out where Karlsson will land into a game of Guess Who. With every new rumour and report, we can only use the process of elimination to speculate where the Norris Trophy winner will play this season.
The Eastern Conference is off the board, as are Canadian teams from the West. That means eleven squads remain. Let’s take a look at the remaining options.
Anaheim: The cap situation is tight for the upcoming year. Yet, the Ducks could use a top-tier right-handed defenseman to boost what is already a solid blueline. Watching Cam Fowler and Karlsson run a power play together would be a treat.
San Jose: Could you imagine Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Karlsson on the same team? That would be ridiculous… ly expensive. In fact, the three would cost $21.5 million for the upcoming 2018-19 (Karlsson is set to make $6.5 million this season). That total only goes up after Karlsson signs an extension. Despite this, the Sharks have remained in the discussion for the past few months.
Vegas: There are few teams in the NHL that have spent less on their blueline than the Golden Knights. As a result, they have the cap space. Furthermore, Karlsson could mentor Shea Theodore (assuming he isn’t part of the deal). Karlsson-squared (Erik and William) starring on the same team would also be pretty neat.
Dark Horse Destinations
Chicago: Another situation that would result in a stacked back end. A relatively shallow prospect pool could be the problem here though.
Colorado: The Avalanche could use a spark. Besides Tyson Barrie, their back end doesn’t generate much offensively. Erik Johnson was second on the team in defenseman scoring with nine goals and 25 points last season. They also have the cap space to get the job done. Is Karlsson willing to go to Denver though? I’m not buying it.
Dallas: The Stars have six quality NHL blueliners locked up for the 2018-19 season, including their 2014 first round draft pick Julius Honka. Cap space and whether or not the squad has the prospects to make a trade happen could be hurdles.
St. Louis: Alex Pietrangelo is already the Blues’ top right-handed defenseman. You can’t expect him to take a backseat to Karlsson. Furthermore, the team’s second-highest paid blueliner Colton Parayko is also right-handed. With that said, the Blues do only have three defensemen signed for 2019-20, Karlsson’s first year of a new deal.
Out of the Question
Arizona: There is no way that Karlsson wants to go from one tire fire to another.
Los Angeles: Karlsson and Drew Doughty on separate pairings just doesn’t make sense when it comes down to the dollars and cents. The 2019-20 edition of the squad would have the two top paid defenders in the league and Anze Kopitar making $10 million. That would just be financially irresponsible.
Minnesota: They’re basically Canada, right? If he won’t play here, why would be want to go there?
Nashville: Does one of the best back ends in the league really need a guy like Karlsson? The Preds would have to give up too much to make this deal work.
For now, I guess we’ll continue to wait on future reports to eliminate more of these teams. I wouldn’t oppose an official trade either though. This circus that has gone on for far too long.