Rumours have been circulating that the Edmonton Oilers have asked the Sharks about Erik Karlsson.
I can’t find confirmation but I do remember San Jose being surprised saying that was news to them, which would pretty much quash any talk of Karlsson to the Edmonton Oilers.
I can also see the wisdom in this since the Oilers are in win now mode, and yes Darnell Nurse could use more help at the top of the roster and Broberg and Bouchard are under performing as future pieces on D thus far.
However, even with half of Karlsson’s massive $11.5 million contract retained by San Jose, this would still be a tough pill to swallow as Karlsson is signed for another four seasons after this one. This would be a blockbuster trade that would alter the franchise in a huge way – and not necessarily in a good way.
For one thing, San Jose is asking for a lot in return. IMO David Staples’s trade proposal is actually plausible. I could see San Jose asking for Barrie, Puljujarvi, two first round picks, and one of Broberg or top prospect forward Dylan Holloway (the latter name I’m inclined to not include in this trade as if the Bison King’s struggles continue we might need Holloway in the top six sooner rather than later).
But I’m not convinced that Karlsson would be as much of a salvation as the buzz says he is. For one thing, he’s not as defensively sound as you would like for a player of his calibre and experience level. He’s been a minus player the last three seasons running and four of the previous five, going back to his last season in Ottawa. Even this year as he’s leading the NHL in points, he’s still sitting at -6 on the season.
Maybe we can chalk that up to the lousy team he’s playing on in San Jose, but do you want to find out with your team’s two first round picks, two roster players, and a top prospect? Personally, I wouldn’t. Maybe Dave Manson can do his thing and turn him around like he’s turned around Tyson Barrie’s own zone play. Maybe not. Karlsson is 867 games into his NHL career. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Perhaps, but again it’s a huge gamble to find out.
Then there’s the fact that the Edmonton Oilers already have four puck movers on the roster – Darnell Nurse, Tyson Barrie, Evan Bouchard, and Philip Broberg.
Yes, none of them are as good as Karlsson, but would this necessarily move the needle for the franchise? I’m not convinced of that. It might get you an extra win or two a season, but in the playoffs is where the Cup is won and a different brand of hockey is played. Karlsson hasn’t played playoff hockey in four or five seasons. Has he still got it? Quite a risk to find out – and let’s not forget that in this day and age Cups are won with depth not name players. The Edmonton Oilers would be giving up some of their depth to get Karlsson.
Then there’s Karlsson’s recent run of injuries that hampered his play in the past. Yes he’s healthy now and leading the NHL in points for defenceman, and that’s great, but how long will it last? If he gets a season ending injury, the only NHL ready prospect the Edmonton Oilers can call up is Markus Niemelainen, who isn’t a puck mover. Or they can insert Ryan Murray into the lineup, a guy who has largely been a non-factor in games he’s played.
Those are not great options. Even with San Jose retaining 50% of his cap hit that’s still a huge risk.
And that’s not even getting into the contract itself. Karlsson has a NMC in his contract. Would he waive that to come to the Edmonton Oilers? Maybe, maybe not. Hard to say at this point. He’s also signed until he’s 36. Will his body hold up until then?
That’s the million dollar question. If it doesn’t the Edmonton Oilers will only have an LTIR contract to show for the huge trade haul they would’ve given San Jose, with a massive hole to fill on the blueline in his place. Personally I wouldn’t bet on it considering that in his younger days he’s already had injury issues.
There’s also the issue of San Jose dealing to a division rival. They might ask for even more of a trade haul, something that Holland would be wise to avoid as even Staples’s proposal is a bit rich for my blood.
If Karlsson only had a year to go on his contract and San Jose wasn’t asking for as much, then it might make a lot more sense, but Karlsson as a rich long term contract? Too much risk even with 50% cap hit retained, personally I’ll pass. I get why San Jose is asking for a lot in return, but from an Oilers perspective it’s too much.