Three of the National Hockey League's top insiders have just all confirmed a bombshell rumor regarding Ottawa Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson.
For months and months we heard talk of Karlsson being dealt out of Ottawa and although things came really close, in fact one highly respected Ottawa journalist reported that Karlsson was in fact traded at one point, the trade never materialized. Over the past several weeks the trade talks died down considerably as both team executives and players all went about their personal lives during what is traditionally a vacation period for those who work in and around the NHL and many began to suspect that the deal was dead in the water. We now know however that this is not the case and this trade is still very much alive.
First Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman broke the news this morning that several teams had begun to step up their offers as organizations around the NHL began to prepare for training camp. The timing makes sense, if you are serious about acquiring Karlsson having him in training camp and the preseason to help fit him into you system would be ideal, picking him up mid season would force you to make the adjustments on the fly and that would be obviously be less than ideal. Additionally Friedman was able to provide some additional details adding that he believes Karlsson is likely to end up in the Western Conference and that the Vancouver Canucks have now also entered the fray in an attempt to acquire the blue line star.
This is of course all just a rumor at this time but it appears to be an extremely credible one as two more of the NHL's top insiders have chimed in to confirm Friedman's report from earlier today. TSN insider Darren Dreger, who is one of those people currently on vacation, has been able to confirm through his own sources that teams have in fact stepped up their offers in an attempt to get Karlsson out of a Senators uniform and onto their roster.
Perhaps the most reliable source on this matter however is Ottawa Senators insider Bruce Garrioch. Garrioch is almost inarguably the best Senators insider in the business and although it did take him a few extra hours to chime in on this story he has confirmed the report from Friedman. According to Garrioch with training camp in Ottawa set for September 13th rival teams around the league are looking to finalize a trade for Karlsson prior to that date.
Needless to say this will likely go down as one of the biggest trades in recent memory if it is in fact finalized before the start of training camp and that has to raise some questions for the fan bases of the teams trying to acquire him. Personally if I'm a fan of the Vancouver Canucks I am very concerned about my organizations apparent willingness to pay a massive price to acquire a defenseman coming off one of the worst seasons of his professional career. Many fans in Vancouver feel the Canucks should be headed for a rebuild and giving up what will likely be a ton of picks and prospects in a deal like this is not how you go about such a rebuild. Obviously adding a player like Karlsson is a game changer but I personally do not believe it would be enough to turn a team like the Canucks into a serious contender.
Photo Credit: Daniel Lea-CSM-Zuma