The tumultuous relationship between the Ottawa Senators and their star defenceman has taken yet another turn, according to reports coming out of New York, with the club once again seemingly inching closer to moving their two-time Norris Trophy winner.
The Senators have given opposing clubs permission to speak with Erik Karlsson and his representatives about a potential contract extension, according to the New York Post‘s Larry Brooks — a report confirmed by Sportsnet’s John Shannon.
The news comes just one day after Senators GM Pierre Dorion said Sunday that the club has offered Karlsson — who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 campaign — a contract extension.
While Dorion told reporters an offer was extended, no details regarding salary or term were revealed.
“Obviously we don’t really want to talk about roster players, contract negotiations, trades, all these things,” Dorion said Sunday. “But I think we owe it to our fans and we made a promise at the town hall that we would make a contract offer to Erik Karlsson and we’ve done so.
“I’m not going to talk any more about it but we just thought that we talked about it previously and that’s about all we’re going to say on the subject.”
Fellow top-end blueliner Drew Doughty recently signed an eight-year, $88 million contract with his Los Angeles Kings, and it’s assumed Karlsson is seeking a similar deal, according to Brooks.
Karlsson’s name has held firm amid the rumour mill for months now, with the early inklings of a potential separation from his club coming back in November 2017, when the Swedish star told reporters he had no interest in discussing a hometown discount on his next contract.
While it appeared a trade was coming before the 2018 trade deadline in February, one never came to fruition, shifting attention to the off-season.
The Karlsson situation took yet another significant turn in June, when the defenceman’s wife alleged that she was being harassed by the partner of her husband’s teammate, Mike Hoffman — a tense situation that resulted in the latter Senator being traded to San Jose, and then Florida.
Karlsson is set to earn $6.5 million in 2018-19, the final season of a seven-year contract signed back in 2012. The 28-year-old is coming off a 62-point effort for Ottawa — while being limited to just 71 games — and heads into the next campaign with 518 points through 627 games in a Senators jersey.