Remember a few weeks ago when we wrote a round table entitled The Erik Karlsson to Tampa Bay Lightning speculation keeps spinning out of control? We’re back, and now with more fuel to add to the fire. TSN writer Travis Yost, who has contacts in the Senators’ organization, tweeted that Steve Yzerman and Ottawa Senators’ GM Pierre Dorion are in deep talks about moving Karlsson, and as an additional piece in the trade, Bobby Ryan.
Some pieces are already moving in Ottawa — even as we wrote this piece, the Senators traded Derrick Brassard to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In summary, Yost tweets:
Per sources: Ottawa in serious discussions to engage third and fourth-party teams to further develop an Erik Karlsson trade. Working to include Bobby Ryan. An initial attempt at engaging a third-team has opened more doors. Still an extremely fluid situation here. Tampa Bay remains the only real trade target at this time to land Erik Karlsson. The sense is that the trade could look absolutely massive if it happens before the Monday deadline.
Tampa Bay is working Ottawa extremely hard and has been for three days now. There is no belief at this time that Erik Karlsson can be retained in Ottawa long-term. So the situation has become binary — a trade here, or a trade in June.
I do not believe that Ottawa and Tampa Bay are far apart. And I do believe that Tampa Bay is seriously considering the Bobby Ryan trade piece (and engaging third or fourth teams) so as to avoid moving major pieces from current roster. [...] It’s going to come down to making financials work here.
Yost’s words are given additional credence by Craig Custance, who says:
Hearing that third teams with cap space are now getting involved in Erik Karlsson trade talks to help facilitate a potential trade. Makes sense, especially if Bobby Ryan contract is involved and contenders don't have room for it.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 23, 2018
The addition of Bobby Ryan’s contract is an interesting spin on the trade story that we hadn’t heard before. His contract is, in short, terrible — he has a cap hit of 7.25 until 2022 which is why the Senators need to unload his contract now. He also has a ten-team NTC, so would have to approve any potential moves if the acquiring team is not on his approved list.
Previously we’d balked at a trade for Karlsson because the price of this 1.5 year rental would be too high. Our speculation was, maybe, “Karlsson for Namestnikov, Raddysh, Hajek, a 1st and a conditional 1st if he’s re-signed.” But since then, Yzerman said to Joe Smith that he would not be willing to trade any current roster players for Karlsson:
“At the trade deadline, when you’re trying to acquire players, usually teams that are selling are looking for younger players, draft picks and prospects,” Yzerman said to the Tampa Bay Times. ”At this stage, the young players (we have) on our team we want to keep on our team, and we want to add to that.
”We’re trying to keep this team together with the hope of improving it.”
How would it work with Ryan’s contract? What would a three-way or four-way trade look like? Basically, clever financial madness:
GeoFitz4 speculates, “You could end up where four teams are involved (since there are reports a third and fourth team are involved) where Ryan is traded to a third team with prospects and picks, and maybe they give up a smaller piece to Ottawa for it, and then the third team trades Ryan to a fourth team for prospects/picks with salary retained. So the fourth team gets Ryan at a more reasonable cap hit, and the third team gets assets for taking on the retained salary for four years.
“Ryan’s production is more in line with a player that has a $4-$5 million cap hit. So someone towards the bottom of the league that’s still re-building and has cap space like the Arizona Coyotes or Montreal Canadiens could make sense to be a team that would eat the retained salary in exchange for assets.”
What teams might be the third or fourth? We imagine it could be Colorado. Hardev suggested, “Colorado has approximately $6.5 million of dead cap space coming off the books this summer, so they can afford it without it making a dent in their long-term outlook.” Other potential teams could be Arizona or Carolina, who might need some contract dollars (without retaining salary) to make it to the cap floor. Carolina could also be a team that would be willing to take him on at his full cap hit to upgrade their roster since their re-build is coming along nicely. However, they have to be careful about their long-term commitments because they have a lot of young, talented players that need to be getting paid soon.
So. What do you guys think? Is it going to happen?
Will we see Erik Karlsson in Bolts’ colors by Tuesday?
This poll is closed
No, it’ll be next season
Literally no idea whether the moving pieces will align and spit Karlsson out in Tampa