Erik Karlsson not with Senators for final 3 road games

Erik Karlsson picked up the game puck from his last game, forcing fans to wonder if the Senators captain expects to be with the team next year.

Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson is not travelling with the team and will not play in its final three road games of the season, according to NHL.com.

Karlsson is staying in Ottawa to be with his family, after his son Axel was stillborn in March.

His absence from the road trip prompted some to speculate that Monday’s home finale could be his last game as a Senator. Karlsson was the centre of plenty of trade speculation before the deadline but ultimately remained in Ottawa. He has one year remaining on his contract and is eligible to sign an extension with the Senators on July 1.

Karlsson sparked the speculation further when he stopped after Monday’s game to pocket the game puck, although he denied that he did that for any sentimental reason.

“I was down there and I saw it was in the net so I just picked it up and decided to keep it,” Karlsson told Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. “I haven’t (thought about the final home game) until now.”

Karlsson finishes the season with nine goals and 62 points in 71 games, including three assists in Monday’s 6-5 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Through 627 career games, all with the Senators, he has 126 goals and 518 points. He is also a two-time Norris Trophy winner.

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