Sometimes when teams have the ability to acquire an elite level player, they go crazy and offer a huge haul in order to get that player. The Ottawa Senators are hoping that is the case after rumors of them placing super-star defensemen Erik Karlsson on the hypothetical trading block. Karlsson still has one affordable season left on his contract, but after that he will be in line for a major pay day and he has made it clear that he wants to cash out. The Senators love Karlsson but he may be out of their future price range. Depending on whether they want to rebuild sooner than later, the Senators would be wise to move Karlsson now and reap a giant reward of prospects and/or draft picks in return.
While nearly every team in the NHL would be interested in bringing in a player like Karlsson, only some have the high value prospects and draft picks to entice Ottawa to trade their franchise face. For many of these teams Karlsson would be viewed as the final major piece needed for a Stanley Cup run, while others would be interested in acquiring Karlsson and building their franchise around him. No matter what the scenario is, these teams are going to have to make massive offers in order to get Ottawa to the bargaining table. Is your team a potential fit for Karlsson? What would they have to give up to get him?
15 Pittsburgh Penguins
Package: (G) Tristan Jarry, Olli Maatta and 2018 1st Round Pick
The Ottawa Senators would be trading away one of the best blue line players in the NHL, so they better do something to help reinforce their net protection in order to compensate. Craig Anderson has been steady for the Senators over the past few seasons, but he is not the long-term answer at the goalie position due to the fact that he will soon turn 37 years old.
In order to entice the Senators into trading their franchise player, the Penguins will have to offer up their number one goalie prospect, Tristan Jarry. Jarry has the potential to become an elite goaltender in the NHL and has already showed promise at the leagues highest level. The Penguins already have Matt Murray locked in as their starting goalie, thus making Jarry expendable. Adding a player like Karlsson to a team with the talent of Pittsburgh is a scary thought for the rest of the league.
14 Arizona Coyotes
Package: 1st Round Pick, Max Domi & Oliver Ekman-Larsson
One of the perks of being the worst team in the NHL is that you receive the highest odds of obtaining the #1 pick in the draft. This is not always guaranteed, however, and the Coyotes know that better than anybody after they were screwed by the draft lottery in the 2015 draft. The Coyotes had the second worst record in the league but ended up with the #3 overall pick. The top two players that year were of course, Connor McDavid and Jake Eichel. It was terrible luck for a team in need of a franchise face.
Because of this, the Coyotes may be a bit gun shy about risking their luck with the draft lottery again this season. And landing Erik Karlsson through just the 2019 season does them little good. However, if GM John Chayka were desparate for a splash and offered this package, the Sens would jump all over it, especially if the Coyotes were to win the lottery and the right to draft Rasmus Dahlin.
13 Toronto Maple Leafs
Package: Mitch Marner, 1st Round Pick, 3rd Rounder
A highly sought after prospect like Mitch Marner paired with a 1st rounder and adding a 2018 3rd round draft pick would be a very enticing option to consider for the Ottawa Senators. The Senators have a slew of offensive talent already, but adding a player of Marner's potential is not an opportunity that comes around everyday.
Given the fact that he is only 2o years old and has already accumulated about 150 points at the NHL level, Marner has established himself as one of the brighter young talents in the game. Moving him out of the spotlight of Auston Matthews could also help him embrace the role of becoming a franchise face for the Senators. Oh, it also doesn't hurt his trade value that Matthews recently lit up the Senators for a career high five points this season.
12 Washington Capitals
Package: Alex Ovechkin, Lucas Johanson
How crazy would this be? A straight-up trade of the best offensive talent in the NHL for one of the best defensive players in the league. It's like a true clash of good vs. evil here. This is not the type of trade that would go down at the NHL deadline this season, however, as the Capitals are sure to attempt at least one last Stanley Cup run with Ovechkin as their leader.
But should Ovechkin fail in the playoffs again, it would create a sense of tension in Washington this offseason and have fans questioning whether Ovechkin is a championship caliber player despite his unique offensive skill-set. This would open up a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Senators to bring in the top sniper in the NHL. Regardless of the salary cap headaches it could cost, a front-line combo of Matt Duchene and Ovechkin would be amazing to watch.
We can't forget about the Sens' need at the blue line though, so odds are they'd want a young blueliner thrown in like Lucas Johanson.
11 Tampa Bay Lightning
Package: Brayden Point, 1st Round Pick and a 2nd Round Pick
Tampa Bay is currently dominating the Eastern Conference and does not need to make any major trades in order to solidify their case as a true Stanley Cup contender this season, but obtaining a talent like Erik Karlsson is always something good teams will entertain if the price is right.
If the Lightning want to acquire Erik Karlsson in a trade, it would likely have to involve one of their top prospects in Brayden Point. Somehow Point remains as an under the radar player, but he is quickly developing into a bonafide star in the NHL. He has a tremendous ability to create havoc on the offensive side of the rink and will continue to develop with more playing time. This would be a big haul for the Senators and one they would have to take if presented to them.
10 Philadelphia Flyers
Package: Nolan Patrick, 2018 and 2019 1st Round Picks
The Philadelphia Flyers are in an interesting team right now. They have one of the most talented rosters in the NHL, yet don't give off the vibe of a team that is ready to compete for a Stanley Cup Trophy in 2018. This would completely change if they are willing to sacrifice their future prospects in exchange for a chance to win in the immediate future, which they should do given their aging talent right now.
The Flyers are in a good position to pull off a trade for a star like Karlsson because they have a well balanced team, good leadership, and a need for more stud defensemen. They also own the rights to the St. Louis Blues' 2018 first round pick after the Brayden Schenn trade. Pair this with their own draft pick, along with the blue chipper Nolan Patrick and the Flyers have a package that would attract Ottawa. The Senators would love to move Karlsson for young prospects, but they could not pass up two high value first round picks either.
9 Anaheim Ducks
Package: Sam Steel, Josh Mahura, and 2019 2nd Round Pick
Many teams do not have a realistic package that they could put together to obtain a player as elite as Erik Karlsson, but the Anaheim Ducks are certainly an exception. The Ducks have been quietly loading up their prospect pipeline with extremely exciting young players. While Anaheim would love to acquire a guy like Erik Karlsson, they would have to think long and hard about giving up guys like Sam Steel and Josh Mahura to do it.
Steel and Mahura are both 20 years old or younger and have shown the talent to join the NHL ranks in the next season or two. Steel, in particular, scored over 130 points in only 66 games for the Regina Pats last season. That alone would draw the interest of the Senators, but throw in his Regina teammate Mahura and a 2019 second round pick and they might have a deal. Karlsson could become a mega-star in the greater Los Angeles area.
8 New York Rangers
Package: Igor Shestyorkin, Ryan McDonagh
As mentioned above, the Senators could soon enter a massive rebuilding stage that will take multiple seasons to overcome. Trading Karlsson offers them their first opportunity to acquire long-term talent to help boost their transition period. The Senators will need a good, young goalie prospect to build around as the best goalie currently on their roster is already 36 years old.
The Rangers recently sent a letter to their fans, saying they plan to re-shape the team, which is open for debate as to what that means. It could mean to rebuild, or to simply create cap space for a bigger splash. To get Karlsson, the Rangers would have to part ways with elite goalie prospect, Igor Shestyorkin, and Ryan McDonagh, who the Sens would then have to re-sign next year. The Sens would be getting a lesser defenceman, but at least they'd have their goalie of the future. And McDonagh's no slouch himself.
7 Buffalo Sabres
Package: 2018 1st Round Pick and 2019 2nd Round Pick
Much like the Arizona Coyotes situation mentioned above, the Buffalo Sabres are in a position of power when it comes to their 2018 first round draft pick. As the standings sit now, the Sabres would receive the second highest probability of obtaining the first overall pick and would be guaranteed a selection in the top #3 picks.
A selection like that has so much power because it allows a team that wants to rebuild the opportunity to get a top-flight, franchise changing talent. This year's hottest draft prospect is Rasmus Dahlin, a defender often compared to Erik Karlsson of all people.
If the Sabres win the lottery and offer their pick to Ottawa, the Senators would be thrilled at the opportunity to potentially select a younger, more affordable version of Karlsson. This would be quite the risky move though when made at a deadline instead of after the season. Should they do it to pair Karlsson and Eichel?
6 Detroit Red Wings
Package: Filip Hronek, Tyler Bertuzzi, and 2018 First Round Pick
The Detroit Red Wings are use to winning and competing for Stanley Cup trophies each season, so their recent downturn in the standings the past few seasons has some Red Wings fans concerned for the future. The Red Wings could ease those concerns by making a major move to obtain Erik Karlsson to be the newest face of one of the oldest and proudest NHL franchises in existence.
But the Ottawa Senators aren't just going to give up their star player to another team in the Atlantic Division for nothing. If anything, the Senators would rather move Karlsson to the other side of the country and into the Western Conference if possible. Detroit would have to make a big offer and giving up defensive prospect Filip Hronek, left-winger Tyler Bertuzzi, and their 2018 first round draft pick would be considered a massive offer. This would really make things interesting in the Atlantic.
5 Vegas Golden Knights
Package: Malcolm Subban, Shea Theodore, Surplus of Draft Picks
When the Vegas Golden Knights officially entered the league this past year, they started off with what was considered a lackluster roster filled with expansion players that other teams no longer wanted. In fact, many teams offered the Knights future draft picks if the Knights would select certain players that they had made available (thus protecting other more coveted players).
The Knights made many of these deals and now have over 17 picks in each of the next two drafts. This gives them plenty of room to begin stockpiling young talent in order to create a deep prospect pool for a new start-up franchise. But the Knights have incredibly marched out to the league's best record thus far in 2017-18 and are all but guaranteed to make the playoffs in their first year. Do they dare take the risk of trading many of their future draft picks to the Senators in exchange for a great player like Karlsson?
4 Colorado Avalanche
Package: J.T. Compher and The Return Of The Sens' Assets From The Duchene Trade
This would be ironic wouldn't it? The Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators pulled off one of the biggest moves in recent memory when the Senators acquired all-star center Matt Duchene. This pick-up was expected to boost Ottawa and make them a legitimate playoff threat this season, but injuries and poor play have derailed those plans. Now the Senators are looking to retool their roster.
One way the Senators could achieve this is to go back to the well in Colorado and pull off another major move. Trading Erik Karlsson to the Avalanche for J.T. Compher and the rights to their own 2018 first round pick (which they traded for Duchene) would do they job. The Avalanche would immediately improve their young team and the Senators would regain a valuable first round pick and a solid prospect in J.T. Compher. These two front offices are clearly familiar with each other so let's see if they can get another blockbuster deal done.
3 Edmonton Oilers
Package: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, a 2018 1st Round Pick and a 2019 2nd Round Pick
With Connor McDavid entrenched as the franchise cornerstone of the Edmonton Oilers, there isn't much room for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to grow into a potential superstar. He will never be a first line center on the Oilers as long as McDavid is around and healthy, so the Oilers should offer him as piece in a trade for Erik Karlsson. Not saying that Nugent-Hopkins would ever take over the first line role in Ottawa, but a change of scenery could help him reach his true potential.
Obviously the Oilers will have to give up more than just RNH in order to get a world-class player like Karlsson, so in this trade scenario they would also offer their 2018 first round pick (which could be highly valuable depending on how far the Oilers sink in the standings) and a 2019 second round selection. It's pivotal for the Senators to gain as many draft picks as possible if they want to rebuild. For the Oilers, pairing McDavid with the likes of Karlsson is a nightmare thought for the rest of the league.
2 Winnipeg Jets
Package: Jacob Trouba, Josh Morrissey and a 1st Round Pick
Prior to the 2016-17 season, many in the hockey world had given up on Josh Morrissey ever reaching his potential at the NHL level, but now only a season and a half later, Morrissey is the top line defender for the surging Winnipeg Jets. The Jets are in a position to compete that they haven't had since relocating to Winnipeg from Atlanta. In fact, the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise has never won a playoff series in its entire existence.
Trading for a game-changing talent like Erik Karlsson could immediately change the fortune of one of the league's historically bad franchises. Adding Karlsson to a group that already looks playoff ready would be a huge boost and would suddenly make them a favorite in the first round. A playoff series win would be huge for Winnipeg, but a deep playoff run would be even bigger and a trade for Karlsson makes that a much more realistic scenario.
1 New York Islanders
Package: John Tavres (sign and trade)
There has been much speculation this season about the future of John Tavares on the New York Islanders. Many pegged Tavares as being one of the biggest trade possibilities at the 2018 NHL trade deadline, but the improved play of the Islanders now has the franchise set on a playoff run. Much like the proposed Ovechkin for Karlsson trade, a trade for Tavares would certainly occur in the offseason if it happens.
Do the Senators need John Tavares? Not really, as they already have a top line center in Matt Duchene when he is healthy. But would the Senators want John Tavares? Absolutely. Tavares is one of the most natural play-makers in the game today and is still relatively young. He will be due a major jump in salary soon, which may keep the Senators away, but the thought of adding Tavares may have them opening up their checkbooks.