Erik Karlsson has had a down year by his standards, and by extension so have the Ottawa Senators. But to trade the guy? In his prime?
A move that seismic is ultra-rare in the NHL. But apparently, the chances of it happening before Monday's NHL trade deadline are apparently greater than you may assume.
TSN's Bob McKenzie, one of the most respected and plugged-in reporters in the game, explored the possibility of a Karlsson trade in a new column on Wednesday. And while he believes the chances are closer to 1-49 percent than 50-100, he admits that the probability is close to 50/50.
50/50? For one of the most dynamic players in the NHL?
This is not to say that the Bruins would be in on Karlsson. They pretty much already have their own Karlsson in Charlie McAvoy, and he could develop into an even better defenseman - certainly more well-rounded. But the Karlsson trade possibility is important to bring up because the Bruins' chief competition could potentially be in on him. Namely, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Could Karlsson Go To Tampa?
McKenzie himself named Tampa as the leaders in the clubhouse for Karlsson, even if it's for pure speculation. But they have the league's best record and would put themselves clearly ahead of everyone else if they added a player of Karlsson's caliber.
The problem for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is that he would certainly need to give up pieces off the NHL roster - something that Bruins president Cam Neely isn't willing to do right now, even for "only" a player like the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh. But a Karlsson trade is a massive, "go for it" kind of move, and Tampa is surely among the teams who could afford to do it and might be willing to in order to make a serious push for the Cup while guys like Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman are playing some of the best hockey of their careers.
The Lightning will be have to give up at least one, probably both, of defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and forward Brayden Point, plus multiple other prospects and draft picks in order to land Karlsson. We'll see if Yzerman is willing to pull the trigger.
-- By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].