Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion surprised reporters Sunday when he said the team has made star defenceman Erik Karlsson a contract offer.
Karlsson, whose name has been circulating in trade rumours for much of the calendar year, is set to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2018-19 season. Karlsson became eligible to sign an extension when free agency officially opened at noon ET on Sunday.
Dorion did not go into detail on what the term and cap hit were, nor would he comment on what Karlsson’s reaction to the offer was.
“Obviously we don’t really want to talk about roster players, contract negotiations, trades, all these things, 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,” Dorion said. “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.”
Los Angeles Kings blueliner Drew Doughty was in the same boat as Karlsson, entering the final year of his current deal, but he officially signed an eight-year, $88-million extension Sunday.
Karlsson isn’t the only notable Sens player who will soon be in need of a new contract.
“We’re not going to discuss any other contract negotiations whether it’s Mark Stone (2018 RFA), Cody Ceci (2018 RFA), Matt Duchene (2019 UFA) or anyone moving forward,” Dorion added.
If Karlsson doesn’t like the Sens’ offer, or if he doesn’t wish to return to a team facing many off-ice distractions, then fans can expect trade rumours to once again heat up in the near future.
The 28-year-old, with two Norris Trophies to his name, has spent his entire NHL career with the Senators after being drafted 15th overall in 2008.