Vancouver Canucks: Don’t get your hopes up on Erik Karlsson

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 23: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks looks to pass the puck against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Seven of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 23, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 23: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks looks to pass the puck against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Seven of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 23, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Signing Erik Karlsson would change everything on the Vancouver Canucks’ blue line, but there’s little reason to think or hope that he’ll sign here.

The Vancouver Canucks simply won’t make the playoffs in 2019 unless they make drastic changes to their blue line, but that’s easier said than done for general manager Jim Benning.

There was hope that top blueliner Alexander Edler would sign a new extension without much of an issue. But on the 31 Thoughts Podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported what practiclaly no Canucks fan wants to here.

Friedman said there’s “a feeling this has gone off the rails,” and said that term has been an “issue” in negotiations. The Canucks would like the 33-year-old to be available in the expansion draft, per Friedman, but Edler “doesn’t want to be.”

How this all plays out remains to be seen, but if the Canucks lose Edler, it’s easy to believe that Benning will start getting testy and push hard for this years’ top UFA blueliner. That would be two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson.

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But Benning and Canuck fans shouldn’t get their hopes up too high here. Citing a source, Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun reported that Karlsson “hopes to receive competitive offers ” from the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. His wife, Melinda, is reportedly “homesick” and wishes to be closer to her family.

If that report is true, then we already have enough reason to believe the Canucks won’t be on Karlsson’s wish list. He’s a respected family man who will definitely factor his family life into his decision of where to sign.

Hard to see the Canucks convincing the Karlssons to not worry about family; to simply come over and play for a team that’s not quite ready to compete for championships.

If Karlsson had any interest in staying on the west coast, he would likely just re-sign with the San Jose Sharks — a team that fell just two games short of reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Interpret this tweet however you want, but it does sound like Karlsson was bidding farewell to the Sharks organization and its fans.

Even if Karlsson was open to joining Vancouver, Benning would have to think twice about spending all of his cap space on the 29-year-old. Karlsson endured a frustrating and injury-filled season, performed poorly too often in the postseason and has clearly lost some of that world-class speed that helped him grow into a real game-changer.

Karlsson would likely look for the maximum seven-year term, and he’s going to cost at least $10 million per season. The Canucks haven’t even given Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson their massive raises yet. Would Benning really want to jeopardize his long-term cap situation by investing money in a player who may no longer be in his prime?

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Add it all up, and it just doesn’t make sense for the Canucks to seriously go after Karlsson. Not only that, but going by Brennan’s report, there isn’t much of a reason to believe he’d even be interested in signing here.