In today’s Rumor Rundown we look at the status of superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson, and a few other notable players in the rumor mill. After Karlsson’s general manager caused a stir by saying even Wayne Gretzky was traded (when referring to the likelihood Karlson could be moved), does that mean the gifted defenseman is traded prior to this year’s trade deadline? Also, how quickly will the Senators look at moving Jean-Gabriel Pageau? Some believe there’s no rush while others think it’s only a matter of time. Finally, the Montreal Canadiens are actively working the phones looking for a trade and most involve Max Pacioretty. What is the asking price?
Erik Karlsson Staying Put
Despite the consistent buzz, on a recent edition of Headlines on Hockey Night in Canada, Chris Johnston said not to expect the Senators to trade defenseman Erik Karlsson. Dorion did make a crack about Wayne Gretzky being traded, but the belief is it was more out of a desire to cause a stir or protect himself more than anything else. The Sens are reportedly not listening to offers.
Nick Kypreos confirmed that observation saying the teams that have talked to the Sens don’t think Karlsson is going anywhere. Karlsson himself was asked about the trade speculation and he said, “No, nothing at all (has changed). I’m an Ottawa Senator. I’ve been here for nine years. I’ve given everything I possibly have into this organization and this team and I’m going to keep doing that.”
Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are actually hoping to re-sign Karlsson knowing how much moving him could damage the franchise. Garrioch believes Dorion’s comments about Gretzky were a matter of covering his bases in the event an offer is made that is simply too good to refuse. Karlsson, in the meantime, is stating he thinks it’s crazy he’s being compared to Gretzky in any scenario.
Pageau Likely to Go
Sticking with the Senators, Chris Johnston also believes Jean-Gabriel Pageau has drawn a lot of interest and moving him is a matter of when and not if. Elliotte Friedman believes the Pittsburgh Penguins are a team looking hard at Pageau.
The Penguins have been looking for a depth center all season and to date have been unsuccessful in finding one. Pageau would fit nicely and his two more seasons at $3.1 million per year is affordable. The Penguins would have to pay a premium to convince the Senators to move a useful player on a good contract.
Action on Montreal Trade Front
Chris Nichols also noted that Elliotte Friedman believes the Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is making calls and believes there is a lot of discussion around Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk. Friedman said, “Marc Bergevin is a pretty active guy. Other teams will tell you he’s probably if not the most active, he’s one of the most active GMs in the league. He’s making calls.”
The trick for Bergevin is trying to get something of value in return for Galchenyuk and not getting fleeced on a trade for Pacioretty. Galchenyuk’s salary is a hurdle while Pacioretty’s is an attractive asset. Bergevin should be looking for at least a first-round pick, a second pick, and multiple prospects for Pacioretty.
If the trade is not just draft picks, it is believed that in that deal has to be a center. Since the Canadiens have moved Jonathan Drouin back to the wing, they now know they don’t have that center they desperately need.
Lightning Look for a Faceoff Man
Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times believes the Lightning are in a bit of panic having lost five of seven games. Much of their struggle is being attributed to not having a faceoff man and GM Steve Yzerman is actively looking for someone in the vein of Antoine Vermette.
It appears some of these teams are on the bubble and while they may be holding off, the action is about to heat up.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”