At the time I’m writing this, Erik Karlsson hasn’t been traded. Yet.
Karlsson has been traded once before. Sort of. It just happened a long time ago.
“What are you talking about?” you say? “The Ottawa Senators drafted Karlsson and he’s been with them ever since!”
Here’s how a smart trade helped the Senators land him.
The first round of the 2008 NHL Draft took place on June 20th. I should probably mention that this draft was held in Ottawa. Entering the day, the Senators held the 18th overall pick. But surely they wanted to draft a little higher in front of their home crowd.
And so in a way, the Senators found the perfect trade partner in the Nashville Predators. While this was the only trade the Senators made at the 2008 Draft, David Poile and the Predators went on a trading spree.
The day before the 2008 draft, Nashville made a small deal with Carolina to give Darcy Hordichuk’s rights to the Hurricanes. On Day 1 of the 2008 draft, Nashville made three moves. One of their deals was this trade with Ottawa, which I will get to down below. I’m just making you wait.
Another deal was to send goalie Chris Mason to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a fourth-round pick who ended up being Dale Weise.
The third deal, and a fairly big one, allowed that Nashville to move up in Round 1. Nashville traded the ninth and 40th overall picks to the New York Islanders in exchange for the seventh overall pick. The Predators got big forward Colin Wilson at No. 7 while the Islanders picked 2018 All-Star Josh Bailey at No. 9 and Aaron Ness at No. 40.
They kept trading on Day 2.
Here, the Predators and Sharks swapped picks, with San Jose selecting goalie Harri Sateri while Nashville walked away with Craig Smith and Anders Lindback. Nashville also dealt the Dale Weise pick to the New York Rangers in exchange for two draft choices, neither of whom panned out in the NHL.
A popular trivia question involves the final Nashville trade in which the Predators sent two picks to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for the 38th overall pick. That player? Roman Josi.
Of course, Predators fans would prefer to remember that trade because they came out on top. The trade they made with Ottawa on Day 1 of the draft? Not so much.
In this transaction, Nashville sent the No. 15 overall pick to Ottawa in exchange for picks No. 18 and 70.
With pick No. 18, the Predators selected goalie Chet Pickard. Unfortunately for Nashville, Pickard never played in the NHL. His numbers improved in each of his WHL seasons but he struggled to find his footing playing professional hockey in North America. He’s currently playing in the DEL German league with the Mannheim Eagles.
While Chet isn’t currently playing in North America, his brother Calvin is currently under contract with the Maple Leafs, playing in the AHL for the Toronto Marlies.
As for Taylor Beck, he’s no longer in North America either. He played parts of three seasons in Nashville, scoring 11 goals and 23 points in 85 games. The Predators traded Taylor Beck to the Leafs in the summer of 2015. At Leafs media day the next fall, Beck was set to get all his photos taken and interviews done about how he’s an Ontario boy who gets to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, only to be traded to the New York Islanders along with four other players that day.
After stops with the Islanders, Oilers and Rangers, Beck is now playing in the KHL.
In exchange for Beck, the Predators got Jamie Devane. Leafs fans might remember when Devane knocked out Corey Tropp in a pre-season game against Buffalo, which lead to the infamous John Scott vs. Phil Kessel incident that saw David Clarkson start his Leafs career with a 10-game suspension. But Devane never played for the Predators.
So what Nashville got out of this trade was 85 NHL games from Taylor Beck and zero from Chet Pickard. That’s it.
Ottawa on the other hand…
With the 15th overall pick, in front of a home crowd, Daniel Alfredsson walked up to the podium. He announced to the Ottawa fans that the Senators were selecting a player from Frolunda in Sweden, where Alfredsson played as a teenager.
That player? Erik Karlsson.
Here’s the little trade tree on my handy dandy marker board.
What can you even say?
Karlsson has won the Norris Trophy twice. He willed the Senators to Game 7 of the third round on a broken foot. He’s just three points shy of 500 in his career.
Among the 2008 draft class, which was a fantastic one, Karlsson ranks:
- First in assists (375). The closest player is Steven Stamkos at 305 and he’s played more games.
- Second in points (497).
- Sixth in goals (122).
That’s not among defenders, either. That’s out of everybody.
Karlsson overcame a gruesome achilles injury and remains one of the the best players in the world. He has given the Senators everything as captain. If, and it’s sounding like when, Karlsson is traded, who knows what kind of king’s ransom Ottawa will get in return. That ought to make this trade tree a lot longer.
On June 20, 2008, the Ottawa Senators drafted one of the best players in franchise history. And with a little help from a draft day trade with Nashville.