It seems that the biggest trade rumor in the National Hockey League has taken another drastic turn.
All the talk for the past several days has focused in on a rumored trade deal between the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning, a trade deal that would have made Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson a member of the Lightning. In fact not only has all the talk been about the possibility of this trade happening but late last week a TSN reporter based out of Ottawa reported that the deal was in fact a "done deal."
Now however it sounds like not only do the Senators and the Lightning not have "done deal," but in fact the Lightning may have fallen out of the race for Karlsson entirely. It's unclear what exactly has happened between the two sides to go from a trade that was once so close to this, but Larry Brooks of the New York Post is now reporting that the talks between the Lightning and the Senators have "subsided." This will be devastating news to fans of the Lightning who believed that it was only a matter of time before Karlsson joined their team as a result of the rather shocking reports that emerged last weeks.
According to the most recent report from Brooks the Dallas Stars have once again re-emerged as the most likely landing spot for Karlsson, a move that would make sense given his long standing ties to that organization. Karlsson himself doesn't have any ties to the Stars themselves but the Stars made the acquisition of former Ottawa Senators defenseman Marc Methot last season and that could turn out to have a huge added benefit that they would have never expected.
One of the main roadblocks for the Senators in these trade talks is believed to be the fact that Karlsson has made it clear that he is not willing to sign a contract extension with just any team around the league. Karlsson's no trade clause is limited but his ability to control who he signs an extension with is not, and if the Senators want maximum value for Karlsson they will need to have an agreement on that extension in place before making the deal. Talks last week suggested that the Lightning may have been the only team on that list but perhaps with the deal with Tampa falling through Karlsson would consider expanding that list for a familiar comfort.
You have to believe that if Karlsson where to be traded to the Dallas Stars that he would once again be paired with Methot on the blue line and that would give the Dallas Stars their most potent pairing in quite some time. The question however remains what would the Senators be willing to take back in the deal?
Rumor has it that the Senators insisted on getting Dallas' number 1 prospect, defenseman Miro Heiskanen, in the deal several weeks ago but the Stars were reportedly unwilling to make that concession. It was that reluctance from the Stars that took them from being the favorites and suddenly left an opening for the Lightning to step in, so you have to wonder if the Stars will eventually buckle here to get their man.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press