Trade rumours began to swirl on the Erik Karlsson front once again Wednesday afternoon and it appeared the Vancouver Canucks were among the teams showing interest in the coveted Ottawa Senators captain.
However, Canucks general manager Jim Benning, in a conversation with Sportsnet’s John Shannon, has thrown cold water on that particular rumour.
Earlier in the day, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted that Karlsson talks had recently began to heat back up and that there was a belief the Canucks were one of the teams in on the action.
Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre believes it was merely due-diligence on the Canucks’ part and that a rising star like Brock Boeser or blue chip prospects Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson would be pieces the Canucks would be highly unlikely to part with.
Friedman, during an afternoon appearance on Prime Time Sports, said he tended to agree with MacIntyre’s assessment.
“The one thing I would say about Vancouver is they were in on P.K. Subban and they had a chance to get that one done until they knew they weren’t getting [Pierre-Luc Dubois in the No. 5 spot at the 2016 NHL draft], they made a plan internally to pitch [John] Tavares [in free agency but] didn’t get a seat at the table,” Friedman explained. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility, for me, a team that has kind of been in on these players — and why wouldn’t you be in on Erik Karlsson? — that they would maybe fish and take a look.”
Karlsson’s name has been involved in trade rumours for months. Talks were rampant leading up to the 2018 trade deadline, then the draft and into free agency but nothing came to fruition.
Friedman added that he thinks the Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights remain among the frontrunners in the Karlsson sweepstakes.
The 28-year-old is entering the final year of his contract and the two-time Norris Trophy winner is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019. Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings recently signed an eight-year contract extension worth an average of $11 million per year and Karlsson is expected to fetch a similar cap hit and term on his next deal.
Karlsson managed 62 points in 71 games this past season, but finished outside the top 10 in Norris voting for the first time in five years.