Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson remains the biggest name available in the trade market, and Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun lists the Vancouver Canucks as a possible team that could “kick the tires” on a deal.
"You have to wonder if the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks — and this is just me talking — may kick the tires on Karlsson because they have the assets to make a deal and may see him as a player that would help get them to another level…the Canucks are trying to determine what the next step will be in their rebuild after president Trevor Linden walked away from his post late last month because of a reported difference of opinion with owner Francesco Aquilini."
Garrioch emphasized that it’s just his opinion, but you can’t help but wonder if the Canucks would seriously think about trading for Karlsson. Obviously, they have the young roster players (Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Jake Virtanen, etc.), and prospects (Elias Pettersson, Thatcher Demko, Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi), to offer. But should they go down that road?
As we know, the Canucks have never been fully committed to a rebuild. No matter what ownership and the front office have told you, it’s evident this is a group that wants to win as soon as possible. With so many young roster players in place and a handful of top prospects, perhaps the front office would go for the opportunity to sign Karlsson.
More risk than reward
Taking all of this into account, the Canucks would probably be better off avoiding a trade for Karlsson. Sure, he’s arguably the best blueliner in the league, but there are too many good reasons not to trade for him.
For starters, he’s entering the final year of his contract and may not be able to pass up on the opportunity to hit free agency next year. Karlsson has a chance to land the biggest free agent contract in history, and it’s hard to envision the Canucks giving him a long-term deal in the first place. Why trade so many future assets if you only get Karlsson for one year?
Karlsson is also 28 years of age now, and he was clearly hampered from offseason foot surgery throughout last season. Can the Canucks really take the risk and pay a man top dollar, given his recent injury and the fact he’s getting close to 30? And finally, the Canucks have built their greatest prospect group ever, and they’d be throwing a few years away of hard work to trade for one player. It just isn’t worth it.
So even though we shouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks truly kick the tires on Karlsson, it wouldn’t be the right move for this franchise to make. They’re on the path to rebuilding a contender, and trading for one superstar alone could derail everything they’ve put together over the past three years.