Specific suitors for Erik Karlsson have emerged.
Pierre LeBrun reported that the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Seattle Kraken are among “several teams” who have talked to the San Jose Sharks about Karlsson.
As mentioned in here, hearing that Seattle, Toronto and Carolina are among several teams who have chatted with San Jose about Erik Karlsson ⤵️ https://t.co/LcydhjeaPe
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 27, 2023
Keep in mind, it’s still early in the Karlsson derby. And because of his contract, this might be one of the more complicated trades in NHL history.
“It’s still like fairly early in conversation. I think there’s a lot of teams that want to do it, not necessarily a lot of teams that can do it,” the 2023 Norris Trophy winner admitted on Sunday.
It appears a lot of it will come down to how much the San Jose Sharks will retain of Karlsson’s remaining four years at $11.5 million AAV. And what the Sharks deem as an acceptable return. And if Karlsson will waive his No-Movement Clause.
But LeBrun confirmed what Karlsson himself told us on Sunday, he doesn’t have a trade list, and is “open-minded” about his next destination.
Winning is foremost on the 33-year-old’s mind.
On that front, playoff teams Carolina, Seattle, and Toronto should all be favorable destinations for Karlsson.
The Hurricanes are intriguing, obviously, because they acquired San Jose Sharks legend Brent Burns last summer. Would Carolina really try Karlsson-Burns: Part Deux? It seems far-fetched, especially if the Canes complete a rumored deal for right-handed offensive defenseman Tony DeAngelo. So Burns, Karlsson, and DeAngelo on the right side? That’s a lot of duplication. Carolina is also a team that’s sort of in on everything, so this seems like an unlikely landing place.
The Kraken do have a little more cap space than most teams, in part because they’ve avoided big-ticket acquisitions like Karlsson. Currently, they’re not carrying any players with an AAV over 5.9 million. So would they flip that philosophy on its head for an offensive dynamo like Karlsson? Younger and cheaper Vince Dunn was an offensive revelation this past season, notching a career-high 64 points, albeit from the left side. I would call this a realistic possibility, though it’s also been suggested to me that Seattle is a “doubtful” destination.
The Maple Leafs don’t have the cap space, but they might have the motivation to really shake up their core after another playoff disappointment and letting GM Kyle Dubas go. They also could use the right-hander to complement lefty Morgan Rielly in their top-four. Karlsson is also someone who isn’t likely to shrink in the Toronto spotlight. I think this depends, considering Karlsson’s expense, if new GM Brad Treliving sees the hot shot defender as that missing piece.
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