With NHL training camps set to begin in less than a month, the Erik Karlsson rumour mill is beginning to churn once again with a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman Wednesday that trade discussions have “picked up.”
Included in Friedman’s report was a nugget that the Vancouver Canucks had “stepped in” to see if the team might be a match for the two-time Norris Trophy winner’s services, an exciting proposition for Vancouver fans.
According to TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie, however, Canucks supporters shouldn’t hold their breath, as this is more a case of Jim Benning window shopping.
“Vancouver was a surprise,” Lavoie said on The Jeff Blair Show Thursday morning. “I think it’s more kicking tires than anything else. It’s obvious that [Ottawa Senators GM] Pierre Dorion is going to ask for young players in return and it’s obvious that the Canucks wouldn’t take that road, which is totally understandable.”
Given that most of Vancouver’s key pieces moving forward are young players, it makes sense that a rebuilding team like the Canucks wouldn’t be willing to part with them, even for a superstar of Karlsson’s calibre.
Although Lavoie doesn’t believe there’s much chance Vancouver lands Karlsson, he does agree with Friedman’s assessment that Karlsson will be heading to the Western Conference, and has one destination in mind.
“My understanding of the situation is really simple,” said Lavoie. “The Dallas Stars were really ahead. Did it change in the last few days? I wonder. But knowing a lot of people around Erik Karlsson during the summer, my understanding is they really thought that Erik would be traded to the Stars, at one point. But it hasn’t happened yet, which is kind of a surprise.”
Back in early July, The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro reported that Dallas is a “front-runner” for Karlsson.
The Stars don’t have the cap room to take Bobby Ryan and his albatross contract but Dallas does have a bumper crop of prospects the team may be dangling, including 2017 No. 3 overall pick Miro Heiskanen, a defenceman who could take away some of the sting of losing a franchise icon like Karlsson.
Whether it’s the Stars, Canucks or another team that pulls the trigger with an offer enough to impress Dorion, Lavoie believes it’s merely a matter of when a trade happens and feels it should take place before training camp begins.
“It has to get done, but knowing Erik, he doesn’t want the attention to be too negative around him. He’s not gonna protest, he’s not gonna go on strike,” Lavoie said. “Everybody knows at some point it’s gonna happen, and he’s gonna be a real pro. I don’t expect anything negative involving Erik Karlsson in September.”