Erik Karlsson may end up going down as one of the best defensemen in NHL history. Karlsson is a two time Norris Trophy winner (2012,2015) as well as a three-time Viking Award winner annually given to the best Swedish player in hockey. He is a rare breed in the NHL, a defenseman that can score at an almost point per game level. It hasn't led to much team success for the Ottawa Senators. The team made a miracle run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season with an obviously injured Karlsson leading the way.
This is a turning point for the Ottawa Senators. They were expecting to be a cup contender this year and that has definitely not happened thus far. It is clear that the Senators will miss the playoffs this year and have already shaken up their roster. Kyle Turris went to Nashville as part of the Matt Duchene deal. Dion Phaneuf was moved to the Los Angeles Kings for Marian Gaborik. The team is in flux. The team was shopping Erik Karlsson at the deadline, but couldn't reach the deal they wanted, so trading Karlsson will have to wait until the offseason.
If/when they decide to move on from Erik Karlsson you can expect a king's ransom to come back Ottawa's way. Elite scoring defensemen in their prime never hit the trade block. So here we take a look at exactly what Ottawa could expect to get for someone like Karlsson from every team.
If Karlsson gets traded it will shake the foundation of the NHL to its core, so let's take a look at what every team could realistically give up for the sensational Swede Erik Karlsson
30 Anaheim Ducks
Package: Josh Manson, 2018 1st Round Pick, Rickard Rakell
In any trade for Erik Karlsson Ottawa is going to look to get younger and cheaper (especially with owner Eugene Melnyk at the helm). Anaheim has a wealth of defenseman that could facilitate this deal easily. I picked Josh Manson, as he has the potential to help replace some of the production of Karlsson without affecting the Ducks too much. Scoring is needed by the offensively challenged Sens and Rakell can definitely be counted on for 20 goals a season. It would be hard for Anaheim to part with their young defense but they showed a willingness at the expansion draft giving up Shea Theodore to Vegas. Plus, with Getzlaf and Perry now in their 30s, Anaheim's window is in the next couple of years for a Stanley Cup.
29 Arizona Coyotes
Package: Max Domi, Alex Goligoski, 2018 1st and 2018 2nd Round Pick
Can you imagine OEL and Karlsson on the same team? That would be a scary power play to say the least. Arizona isn’t likely to pull off a deal of this magnitude but they have to be included for the purpose of this article. Max Domi is a fast young forward who could help the team’s goal of being younger and more offensively productive. There is no way Ottawa doesn’t ask for a top 4 D-man in any deal and Arizona doesn’t have many to offer but Goligoski is an interesting idea for the Sens. The picks are what Arizona really has to offer, but for that team, they need every pick they can keep their hands on. Ottawa would accept this package if the Coyotes won the lottery, which would give the Sens the chance to draft Rasmus Dahlin.
28 Boston Bruins
Package: Torey Krug, David Pastrnak, 2018 3rd Round Pick
Some might think of this as an overpayment including two young great players like David Pastranak and Tory Krug but hear me out. I highly doubt Ottawa trades Karlsson within their own conference, especially their own division and it would take a big deal for it to happen. Ottawa needs scoring and Pastrnak has the ability to be a 30-40 goal scorer in the NHL. If you're the Senators, isn't this the kind of player you'd be asking for?
Ottawa will also need a minute eating defenseman in any deal for Karlsson and Krug definitely fits the bill here. Another trade that is doubtful but would shake the foundation of the NHL to its very core.
27 Buffalo Sabres
Package: Ryan O’Reilly, 2018 1st Round Pick
This is one deal I could see happening at the draft. Buffalo has been shopping Ryan O’Reilly and for a team needed a solid center and a scoring winger this is an attractive package for the Sens to consider.
Buffalo needs an elite defenseman so the deal makes sense for both sides. The Sabres' best asset is their high draft pick coming this summer, which could possibly end up being the first overall pick if they win the lottery. Obviously to trade the rights to Rasmus Dahlin away, the Sabres would have to have an extension lined up with Karlsson, because you're not giving up Dahlin for potentially just one year of Karlsson.
Karlsson is also a free agent after next season so only time will tell if he is willing to stay with a team as bad as Buffalo.
26 Calgary Flames
Package: Matthew Tkachuk, Mark Giordano, 2019 1st Round Pick
Matthew Tkachuk is the exact type of player that the Ottawa Senators would be salivating over getting in exchange for Karlsson. He is young, fast, and gritty. He has already shown an ability to score at an elite level and can throw his weight around to protect his teammates as well. Mark Giordano is a solid defenseman that could stabilize the backend for the Sens and for a team heading in to a rebuild draft picks are at a premium so even having to wait an extra year a 2019 1st rounder is the cherry on top to make this deal a go for the Sens. It would be a big price for the Flames but in a conference full of elite offensive defenseman they need one to compete.
25 Carolina Hurricanes
Package: Noah Hanifin, Jordan Staal, 2018 1st Round Pick
Carolina has been having a resurgence this year after struggling mightily last season. Still, Noah Hannifin hasn’t quite lived up to his hype as an offensive defenseman. Jordan Staal is slightly overpaid but he is a solid #2 center option for the Senators. He is defensively sound and chips in offensively at well which Ottawa desperately needs. Trading Karlsson would be the start of a total rebuild so the draft picks are necessary for the Sens to try and turn things around quickly. It is hard to see Ottawa moving Karlsson to a team such as the Hurricanes but you never know in the NHL. The Canes have a new owner who's likely looking for a big splash, so anything's possible, right?
24 Chicago Blackhawks
Package: Jonathan Toews, 2018 2nd Round Pick
This is a blockbuster deal that would shake up the NHL. It doesn’t quite fit the Senators 'younger and cheaper' plan but Jonathon Toews is a player that every NHL team would covet. There are very few better two-way players in the NHL. The Chicago Blackhawks are seeing their window closing on their Stanley Cup chances after years of being able to make slight changes to an elite team and still compete. Toews has a hefty cap hit with many years left on it to go so it is hard to see him be moved.
The Blackhawks would have to consider a move for a fast puck moving defenseman such as Karlsson. Duncan Keith and Karlsson on one team would be scary to say the least.
23 Colorado Avalanche
Package: Gabriel Landeskog, Erik Johnson, 2018 3rd Round Pick
A team that has Tyson Barrie and Erik Karlsson would definitely be a scary team to try and play against. Ottawa needs to gain some size, speed, and skill on the offensive side of the game and Gabriel Landeskog fits the bill to a T. Landeskog is having a bounce-back year this year and his value is at high. Erik Johnson could stabilize the Ottawa Senators defense but he would likely be on the move due to his high salary and age. Both teams need a shake up and this would definitely redefine each team’s roster. They've already come together for one blockbuster trade (Duchene) so who's to say Joe Sakic and Pierre Dorion wouldn't phone each other again?
22 Columbus Blue Jackets
Package: Pierre-Luc Dubois, 2018 1st Round Pick
Pierre-Luc Dubois was the 3rd overall pick in 2016. So far he has shown flashes of brilliance for a very good Columbus Blue Jackets squad. Given a bigger role he could flourish into a strong two-way center for the Ottawa Senators. Salary cap implications likely prevent this deal from every coming to fruition as the Blue Jackets have many young players who will need long extensions coming up.
A stable defensive defenseman like Seth Jones is just the type of partner that Karlsson needs to be at his very best. He could make a good Blue Jackets team truly elite. Maybe with Karlsson, they could finally overthrow the likes of the Pens and Capitals in the Metropolitan Division.
21 Dallas Stars
Package: Miro Heiskanen, 2018 1st Round Pick, and Alexander Radulov
Everyone knows that the Ottawa Senators are in need of more scoring. Miro Heiskanen is one of the most highly touted prospects not playing in the NHL. Alexander Radulov had one of his best seasons of his career playing for Montreal last season. Both could bring new offensive flair to a struggling Ottawa team. Add in the first round pick and you have building blocks for a solid rebuild. Dallas pairing up Klingberg and Karlsson could dominate the Western Conference. The Stars will have their work cut out for them in the Central Division, as the Jets and Predators seem poised to rule over the division in the coming years. Karlsson would definitely level the playing field.
20 Detroit Red Wings
Package: Dylan Larkin, 2018 1st Round Pick, 2019 2nd Round Pick
The Red Wings don't really have much to offer the Senators at this point, as Mike Green is a pending UFA and Tomas Tatar, one of their higher valued assets, was shipped off to Vegas at the deadline. Any goaltending depth they could've offered Ottawa was also shipped out, as they sent Petr Mrazek to Philly a few weeks ago.
The whole Detroit Red Wings squad is in need of a rebuild and Erik Karlsson is a hell of a player to build around. Ottawa needs to get younger and get faster and Dylan Larkin can be a big part of that rebuild for the club. The Wings however, would be one of the least likely teams to offer young assets for Karlsson as they need a rebuild, and Karlsson alone doesn't make them a contender again.
19 Edmonton Oilers
Package: Oscar Klefbom, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, 2018 1st Round Pick
The Western Conference’s best teams all have one thing in common: an elite offensive defenseman. This is one position the Edmonton Oilers are sorely lacking. Ottawa needs a defensively reliable center with some offensive flair and a potential replacement for Karlsson.
Add in likely a lottery pick this year and this deal matches the Sens' needs like no other.
Nuge is becoming a strong two-way center and Klefbom has a wicked shot from the point. The trade makes sense for both teams and could have the potential to happen at the deadline. The Oilers' only two untouchables are Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Anyone else is fair game if it means landing Erik Karlsson.
18 Florida Panthers
Package: Keith Yandle, Evgeni Dadonov, 2018 2nd Round Pick
Florida has been a team on the “rise” for years now but has struggled with consistency. A move acquiring Erik Karlsson could be what takes them over the top. A high scoring puck-moving defenseman does not come cheap. Ottawa needs young scoring talent and Evgeni Dadonov seems to fit the bill after his breakout season this year. Keith Yandle is as reliable as they come able to eat up big minutes and chip in offensively. Ottawa needs a lot of help to restructure their team and this type of move seems to be a good step in the right direction. The Panthers must be getting impatient after showing "promise" year after year. They could surprise many by making a bold move to land Karlsson next season and possibly beyond.
17 Los Angeles Kings
Package: Jake Muzzin, Tyler Toffoli, 2018 1st Round Pick, 2019 2nd Round Pick
The Los Angeles Kings have their own minute eating, puck moving defenseman in Drew Doughty. Doughty is also set to be a free agent at the same time as Erik Karlsson. Can you imagine that team for the one year though? How could a team compete with having one of those two on the ice at all times? It is a terrifying thought for the Western Conference. Muzzin is a stable option of a defenseman and Tyler Toffoli has the ability to score 30 goals a season. Ottawa would wreck the rest of the west with this deal, but gain some valuable trade chips in Muzzin and Toffoli to hasten their rebuild.
16 Minnesota Wild
Package: Matt Dumba, Nino Niederreiter, 2018 2nd Round Pick
The Minnesota Wild have always had a plethora of good defensemen but never a truly elite offensive option from the back end. Erik Karlsson could change all that. Ottawa knows the immense value a player like Karlsson has and won’t settle. Matt Dumba is a solid replacement for Ottawa’s top 4 and Nino Niederrieter fits the bill for a gritty scoring forward. Ottawa would much rather have Karlsson far away from being able to hurt them come playoff time. Minnesota checks all the boxes for a perfect trade partner. By landing Karlsson, the Wild would finally have an elite partner for Ryan Suter and would finally have the necessary pieces to make it deep into the playoffs.
15 Montreal Canadiens
Package: Carey Price
Only one trade appears on this list that is a straight one for one blockbuster. Montreal has shown the willingness to do this during the Subban/Weber deal. Offensive defensemen in their prime rarely come on the market. The only thing rarer is an elite goaltender. Carey Price is one of the best goalies in the NHL despite a down year this season.
If anyone is worth Erik Karlsson straight up it's Price. This trade is extremely unlikely despite the fair value as Ottawa won’t want Karlsson haunting them for years. Playing in Montreal would definitely do that. As for Montreal, they have solid goaltending prospects in their system and paying elite money to a no.1 defenceman makes more sense than paying $10.5 million for a goalie.
14 Nashville Predators
Package: Ryan Johansen, Ryan Ellis, 2018 2nd round Pick
Nashville already has their fast, scoring defenseman so it is doubtful they would be players in the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes. However every team must be featured so here we go. Ryan Johansen is having one of the worst seasons of his career. In the past, he has been a reliable point producing and gritty forward. Ryan Ellis gets lost in the shuffle of Nashville's defensemen, but he would shine in the nation’s capital. Subban and Karlsson on the same team is a terrifying thought, and all Western Conference teams would be in trouble if this trade ever happened. It'd be a heck of a sacrifice to get him, but the Preds aren't shy about making franchise altering deals.
13 New Jersey Devils
Package: Sami Vatanen, Pavel Zacha, 2018 2nd Round Pick
Yet another team that has the pieces to acquire Erik Karlsson but the fear for the Sens would be too high to make this deal a reality. Sami Vatanen just joined the Devils this season and has a history of producing solid numbers from the backend. Pavel Zacha would be a great addition to a rebuilding and younger Senators top 6.
Ottawa would have to be blown away by a deal to trade Karlsson within their conference and New Jersey just isn’t the right fit in this case. Karlsson will not be a Devil anytime soon unless Free Agency comes calling in 2019. But that doesn't mean the Devils shouldn't at least inquire, right?
12 New York Islanders
Package: Jordan Eberle, Adam Pelech, 2018 1st Round Pick, 2018 2nd Round Pick
The New York Islanders have their own star Free Agent to be worried about so I highly doubt they will be much of a factor here. Ottawa would definitely covet a player like Jordan Eberle. When he is on his game he has potential to be a top line winger with 30 goal potential. The big get here would be the draft picks as Ottawa needs as many as possible to get their rebuild right. No way Karlsson goes anywhere without at least one high draft pick going back Ottawa's way. The Islanders have salary cap concerns as well (they have John Tavares to worry about) so they won’t be a player for Karlsson.
11 New York Rangers
Package: Brady Skjei, Mats Zuccarello, 2018 1st Round Pick
Brady Skeji has turned a lot of heads this year, which hepled New York feel that Ryan Mcdonagh was expendable. Mats Zuccarello has been a reliable 40-50 point getter his entire career so he would settle nicely into the top 6 of the Ottawa Senators. The draft pick will most definitely be a lottery pick this season however none of this matters. There is no chance that Ottawa helps a team like the Rangers rebuild faster than they do. Karlsson does have a limited no-trade clause and you would have to imagine an aging team like the Rangers would definitely be on it. The Rangers also went through the whole ordeal of writing their fans a letter with the intention to rebuild, so landing Karlsson doesn't really scream 'rebuild'.
10 Philadelphia Flyers
Package: Claude Giroux, 2018 1st Round Pick, 2019 2nd Round Pick
The Senators are a team in desperate need of scoring in its top 6. Philadelphia would love an elite defenseman to help bring Ghost along. Claude Giroux has been the leader of a weak Flyers team for years now but he is a talented scorer when he wants to be. Ottawa could use a player like him for its top line and the draft picks will help find new blood for the top 6 of the Sens. Giroux does have a steep cap hit but he is a player that Ottawa could build around for the near future. Philly has a history of looking for the big fish. Would they phone in their best possible offer to Ottawa?
9 Pittsburgh Penguins
Package: Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel, 2018 1st Round Pick
The Pittsburgh Penguins have major salary cap difficulties in pulling off any blockbuster deal. They would need to send out significant cap just to afford Erik Karlsson. Jake Guentzel has thrived as Sidney Crosby's winger but it remains to be seen if he can do well without Sid. Kris Letang has been an elite defenseman for years but injuries are definitely slowing him down. This trade is very unlikely to come to fruition as Ottawa needs to get younger and cheaper and Letang doesn't quite fit the mold of what they are looking for. But this really is the best Pittsburgh can offer, outside of trading one of their top two centers, which we know isn't going to happen.
8 San Jose Sharks
Package: Timo Meier, Marc-Eduard Vlasic, 2018 1st Round Draft Pick
The San Jose Sharks are another team that is seeing its Stanley Cup window quickly closing. The team is aging and they maybe only have another few seasons with this core to take a shot. Bringing in someone like Erik Karlsson to add yet another high scoring defenseman to the team could push them over the edge. Timo Meier is a young speedy forward with potential and Vlasic could help ease the loss of Karlsson for the Sens. The Sharks having either Burns or Karlsson on the ice at all times is scary to think of for the Pacific Division. That'd arguably be the best one-two punch for offensive defencemen ever seen in the NHL.
7 St. Louis Blues
Package: Colton Parayko, Robby Fabbri, 2018 2nd Round Pick
St. Louis seems like the perfect trade partner for the Ottawa Senators. They have young defenseman and forwards to offer up for the elite Erik Karlsson. Robby Fabbri has been discussed as moving at the deadline already so it seems like he would be a good fit. Colton Parayko has shown flashes of brilliance during his career thus far. He could help form the new core for the Ottawa Senators. The deal also keeps Karlsson far away from the Senators' rivals. This could be one to look out for at the draft in June. The Blues unloaded some salary at the deadline, and if they acquire Karlsson in the summer, they can make a serious push for the Stanley Cup next year.
6 Tampa Bay Lightning
Package: Mikhail Sergachev, Ondrej Palat, 2018 1st Round Pick
Tampa Bay has everything going for them to acquire Karlsson except for their location. Mikhail Sergachev would have to be included in any blockbuster deal for Erik Karlsson. Sergachev is a young defenseman who has already shown brilliance as a member of the Lightning. Ondrej Palat has the grit, speed and scoring ability that is sorely lacking in the top 6 of the Ottawa Senators. Tampa is a Stanley Cup contender for the next few years and they will have Ryan McDonagh signed through next season. Why not add Karlsson and make themselves arguably the most dominant blue line in the NHL for a run next season?
5 Toronto Maple Leafs
Package: Mitchell Marner, James Van Riemsdyk, 2018 2nd Round Pick
Okay let's be serious here, there is more of a chance that the Vancouver Canucks win the cup this year than Ottawa trading Karlsson to the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the purpose of this article however this trade would make sense for the Sens. JVR is a legit scoring talent in the NHL good for 30 goals and has a huge net presence. Mitchell Marner is a young winger with loads of potential, Ottawa would salivate over him.
Karlsson playing in Toronto just won't happen, no matter what the deal is Ottawa wouldn't want to be destroyed by Karlsson so many times a season. The only way the Sens would ever seriously consider a trade would be if the Leafs offered Auston Matthews.... which also won't happen.
4 Vancouver Canucks
Package: Brock Boeser, Alex Edler, 2018 1st Round Pick
Speaking of the Vancouver Canucks here they make their appearance on this list. The trade is an interesting one, to say the least. Brock Boeser has shocked the NHL with his goal scoring ability this season. Alex Edler is one of those defensemen that has seemed to be around forever and would provide some solid minute eating work from the back end. Edler would likely just be a trade chip for Ottawa to cash in for a draft pick down the road. Boeser is the big get here and the 1st round pick that has the potential to be in the top 3.
3 Vegas Golden Knights
Package: James Neal, Shea Theodore, 2018 1st Round Pick, 2019 1st Round Pick
Vegas does not seem like a good option for the Ottawa Senators. As an expansion team, they should be focused on keeping as many of their young talents and draft picks as possible. James Neal is an intriguing possibility as he is also on an expiring contract heading into Free Agency. Shea Theodore has been a highly touted prospect for years now from the back end. He could be the next big star defenseman. Add in those draft picks and this is an enticing package for Ottawa to consider. As for Vegas, they'd set themselves up to potentially repeat their success from their inaugural season. Karlsson would likely sign an extension with Vegas as well, because hey, it's Vegas.
2 Washington Capitals
Package: Nicklas Backstrom, Matt Niskanen, 2018 2nd Round Pick
Another trade on this list that isn't likely to happen due to cap and location concerns. Ottawa wants to get younger and cheaper and this trade doesn't accomplish that. Backstrom is the type of player they need in their top 6 but comes with a big cap hit as does Matt Niskanen. The trade would maybe finally get Ovie his cup but it is doubtful Ottawa would take on that much cap for that many seasons. Karlsson is one of the best defensemen in the NHL and would be an elite part of any team. I doubt that team will be the Washington Capitals. The Caps would really have to knock the Sens' socks off with an offer to pry Karlsson out of Ottawa.
1 Winnipeg Jets
Package: Jacob Trouba, Bryan Little, 2018 1st Round Pick, 2019 2nd Round Pick
Winnipeg is an intriguing trade partner for the Ottawa Senators. Moving him to the Western Conference is ideal for the Senators. Jacob Trouba has been on the market for a few seasons now. He has some offensive flair while also being defensively responsible. He would be a great piece to build around for the Senators. Bryan Little has been a solid player for many years now. His cap hit might make this deal not come to fruition but it is definitely an interesting option for the Senators. Winnipeg lacks a truly offensive defenseman and Karlsson would more than fill the bill for the team. However, it's doubtful Karlsson would sign a long-term extension to play in *shudder* Winnipeg.