NHL Rumors: Oilers, Sharks, Senators, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Mike Grier of the San Jose Sharks acknowledged that he will listen to trade offers on Erik Karlsson. Meanwhile, one analyst suggests the Edmonton Oilers need to place a priority on acquiring a defenseman.

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The Ottawa Senators are a popular team among opposing NHL GMs and finally, what names might the Toronto Maple Leafs be looking at to replace Jake Muzzin?

Sharks Say They’ll Talk Karlsson Trade

I reported yesterday that the San Jose Sharks are open to potentially trading major pieces off the roster, including Erik Karlsson. GM Mike Grier confirmed that in a recent interview with NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika and said, “I’ll listen, but at the end of the day, too, a lot will depend on Erik, too.” Grier explained, “He’s got the trade protection and (has control over) what he wants to do.” The GM added, “I know right now he’s happy. He’s happy in San Jose. His family’s happy there. And we’re thrilled with how he’s playing.”

Erik Karlsson San Jose Sharks
Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The price won’t be cheap if the Sharks do choose to move him and that will make any trade difficult. He’s got a massive cap hit ($11.5 million per season) and he’s signed until the end of the 2026-27 season. That alone would make him tough to move if the Sharks were willing to dump him and retain some of his salary. It doesn’t sound like they are. Grier noted, “To me, he’s probably one of the three best offensive defensemen in the league, and he’s been great for us. He’s done everything we’ve asked as far as preparation, practicing, and playing. He’s been great.”

The Oilers Need a Defenseman

According to Allan Mitchell of The Athletic, the Oilers are in a position now where they could be hitting the Christmas break and in a less-than-ideal spot. The pressure to fix their blue line issues is mounting and losing ground with Jack Campbell’s struggles and Evander Kane out is a legitimate concern. Mitchell writes:

The Oilers have been asking too much from the top end of the defence and relying on fringe help to complete the defensive group. It’s time to bite the bullet and make a trade. Here are the issues, including the depth chart and deployment.

source – ‘Lowetide: Why the Oilers need to trade for an established defenceman’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 11/16/2022

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He suggests that trading for a depth d-man isn’t enough and that the Oilers need to make a trade for a top-four lefty defenceman and move Brett Kulak down the depth chart. He mentions Jakob Chychrun as a possible target out of Arizona, along with Carson Soucy out of Seattle. He adds the cost would be significant and writes, “In order to make a trade for Soucy or Chychrun, the organization must be willing to part with the 2023 or 2024 first-round selection, and top-end talent like Dylan Holloway, Xavier Bourgault or [Philip] Broberg.”

Senators Shopping the Trade Market Too

The Oilers aren’t the only team that could be in the market for a defenseman. NHL.com’s Shawn P. Roarke reports that Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is “very active” looking to see what’s available. The team is short two defensemen with Thomas Chabot and Artem Zub currently sidelined by injuries.

Ottawa Senators Pierre Dorion
Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Dorion was quoted saying, “I think we’re just going to keep looking.” He added, “If we can add externally, we’ll look at that.” Dorion joked that he knows other teams see him as a buyer because he was among the most popular people at the recent general managers’ meeting.

As for who the Senators are looking at, that is unclear. They’ve been linked to Chychrun, but the price is apparently too high. And, it’s unlikely they make a pitch to bring Karlsson back to Ottawa.

Possible Muzzin Replacements in Toronto

According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, the Maple Leafs might be looking at the trade market to replace Jake Muzzin, even if the plan in the short term is to provide an opportunity for young defensemen Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren to “step up and seize the moment.”

The names Seravalli mentioned are John Klingberg (Anaheim), Vladislav Gavrikov (Columbus), Matt Roy (Kings), Carson Soucy (Kraken), and Nick Jensen OR Dmitry Orlov (Capitals). Seravalli also noted to keep an eye on Matt Dumba out of Minnesota.