One of the more shocking stories of the 2017-2018 National Hockey League season was the very real possibility that superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson would be traded prior to the National Hockey League's trade deadline. What we all now know however is that the Ottawa Senators didn't like the deals they were offered and as a result they never pulled the trigger on the trade deal.
Since then the media frenzy surrounding the rumored trade has died down considerably, and despite the fact that many continue to believe that Karlsson will eventually be traded by the Senators, potential at the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft, there hasn't been much in terms of rumors as of late. That all changed on Monday night though.
Karlsson's actions may have been perfectly normal and perfectly routine, but on Monday night the Senators star did something that sparked a furor on social media with many fans believing that his actions are a clear indication that he has just played his final game in Ottawa. So the question of course becomes what did he do?
After the game was over, Ottawa's final home game of the 2017-2018 NHL season considering they will not be making the playoffs, Karlsson sneakily skated over to the net and picked up the puck that was inside of it. It's a gesture that has many believing that Karlsson decided to keep a momento of what will be the final game he ever plays in Ottawa as a member of the Ottawa Senators organization.
There have been some who have refuted this claim by suggesting that he was merely picking up the puck for fellow Senators teammate Matt Duchene who had just scored the 200th goal of his NHL career, however that reasoning doesn't add up. For one if he was doing so would he not simply have skated over a picked up the puck after he scored his 200th goal? And secondly according to the broadcast crew covering the game Ottawa Senators center Colin White skated over and grabbed that puck for Duchene at the time that the goal was scored, so there would no longer be any need to od so.
Now this of course is not in any way, shape or form evidence that Karlsson will be leaving the Senators, and if this were not a season where there was a firm belief that he was in fact going to be traded then this move on his part would likely have resulted in no reaction at all. The reality of the situation though is that we do live in a world where the Senators considered trading him, with general manager Pierre Dorion reportedly coming very close to a last minute deal with the Las Vegas Golden Knights that would have also included the terrible contract of Senators forward Bobby Ryan. In that world every action that Karlsson makes is going to be heavily scrutinized and that is exactly what has happened with him picking up this puck and tucking it away into his pants as he left the ice.
Does this mean Karlsson will be traded? No. But if you're asking me if I think that he picked up this puck because this might be his last home game as a member of the Senators, I think that's exactly the reasoning behind it. That is however only an opinion.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press