Erik Karlsson’s fate in Ottawa has been a hot button topic this year. It appears the Vancouver Canucks could not resist and are inquiring about what it will take to acquire the Swedish superstar.
I guess we can go back to saying rebuild with a small “r.” People ask me why I don’t give Jim Benning and the Vancouver Canucks the benefit of the doubt. This is a good reason as to why.
Elliotte Friedman really knows how rile up Canucks Twitter. Although, I’m inclined to believe him. He is one of the most reputable sources in hockey. And sadly, this isn’t the first time we have heard this. Alex Hoegler covered it earlier, and Bruce Garrioch was speculating about this potentially happening last week.
Alex did a good job outlining the potential pitfalls in a big trade like this. To summarize, the Canucks are not in a position to fully use what Erik Karlsson has to offer. He is approaching the stage where defencemen start to decline and needs to be on a playoff team now. The hubris of the Vancouver Canucks is astounding. They honestly believe that Karlsson is the difference between mediocrity and the playoffs.
Unless Karlsson can suddenly play 60 minutes a game and survive, I don’t see this happening. For a team that keeps asking us to be patient as they draft and develop, they like taking a lot of shortcuts. It’s pathetic, but unsurprising. Given who the owner is and the stooge he left in charge, the insolent child needs his playoff revenue. After all, Benning did make a pitch for John Tavares.
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This was mentioned in the other article, but the cost will be great. Logically, it should be. Karlsson is the best defenceman in the league. However, this is Pierre Dorion and the Ottawa Senators. The same team that gave us Jonathan Dahlèn for one year of Alex Burrows, only to be bought out.
Their ownership is trying to purge as much salary as possible and I think Eugene Melnyk is foolish enough to cripple a Karlsson trade by forcing a team to take Bobby Ryan‘s contract. Brandon Batchelor wondered if a deal can only happen if Ryan’s contract is absorbed. His deal runs until 2022. Great. Another anchor for four years.
That will lower the cost, but you have to ask yourselves, are you ready to part with one of Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson or Quinn Hughes? The rebuild is not finished and frankly, the team can’t afford to lose any of those four.
We can’t just trade them Jake Virtanen and half of our prospect pool. Ottawa will want quality, not quantity coming back. The Senators also dealt their 2019 first round pick to Colorado. That means our first rounder is on the table. Are you ready to lose one of the big four and watch Ottawa have a top draft pick in our city? The thought is nauseating.
One saving grace
There is one important factor here that will kill this trade altogether. With a modified No-Trade-Clause, Karlsson controls his destiny. That alone should end trade talks. However, Karlsson only has a year left on his deal. He could tough it out and cash in on the open market next July or perhaps join a playoff team for a cup run after the trade deadline.
Could you imagine crippling our prospect pool just to watch Karlsson walk away for nothing? Ultimately, I don’t think anything happens. I think this will just be a case of what happened over the last few years. Jim Benning was willing to move our 2015 first round pick for Milan Lucic. In 2016, he was willing to sell the farm for P.K. Subban. This year, there was serious concern that the seventh overall pick would be dealt for Noah Hanifin.
Like all of those moves, I think it will be one of those things where we look back and say “I’m grateful the Canucks were not dumb enough to do that.” But the team won’t fool me any longer. We aren’t getting an honest rebuild until we get new management and potentially, new ownership. The Canucks could try to be the third team to help a cap-strapped contender (hello Tampa Bay), but I don’t think Benning is clever enough to attempt that. Keep that in mind if you are lining up to trade for Erik Karlsson.