Ottawa Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson may have just made a lot of National Hockey League fans very angry, and all the while has just eliminated a huge swath of teams from contention in the process.
According to a breaking news report from Kathryn Tappen her sources have informed her that Karlsson will not sign an extension with any Canadian team regardless of what team that may be. Tappen adds that Karlsson wants to played in a United States market although she did not specificy which market, or markets, that may be. This now effectively eliminates the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and, perhaps most importantly, the Vancouver Canucks,
This would certainly fit the rumors that we have been hearing for the past 48 hours regarding the Vancouver Canucks and what is believe to have been their interest in Karlsson. Several sources around the Canucks have since indicated that the Canucks were only inquiring about Karlsson's availability but if they were informed that Karlsson would not sign an extension with their team it would explain why their interest in him quickly dissipated.
Based on what we've heard over the last two days it sounds like the Dallas Stars are the leading candidate to land Karlsson at this time while the San Jose Sharks and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are hot on their heels as the next two contenders on the list in no particular order. That being said though although the rumors continue to link Karlsson to the Sharks I have to wonder just how willing general manager Pierre Dorion would be to make another deal with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson.
Dorion traded forward Mike Hoffman to the Sharks earlier this year and many felt he got a relatively weak return in that deal, but rumor has it that Dorion was entirely unwilling to deal Hoffman within his own division. Wilson however would flip Hoffman just moments after acquiring and sent him to the Florida Panthers, a team in the Senators division. Not only was the move likely frustrating for Dorion due to his desire to keep Hoffman out of his division, but Wilson arguably got an even better return than Ottawa did. It's not hard to see how that would make Dorion look bad and although I'm only speculating here I can see why that would turn him off making more deals with Wilson.
I believe the Las Vegas Golden Knights remain a legitimate option but if I had to guess I think the Senators have had their eyes on one player all along. I believe that if the Senators could get their way they would like to pry top defensive prospect Miro Heiskanen away from the Dallas Stars, although the Stars have indicated that they are unwilling to make that move. Heiskanen is an excellent two way defenseman and is viewed by many as a player that will almost assuredly develop into a top pairing defenseman at the National Hockey League level. He's the kind of player that could help placate a fan base, at least in the long term, that is on the verge of losing their top star after a rather ugly situation.
Photo Credit: Mike Wulf-CSM-ZUMA