Let’s cut right to it: The Sens are garbage and got cooked again last night by the Blues, so their season is about as close to done as it could be on January 19th. Did I mention they’re 16 points behind the Leafs, a team that itself seems like it’s been on a 2-month slide?
Anyway, it’s time for Ottawa to ask itself the most difficult questions, and potentially blow that team sky-high and start over. We know what goes along with that: Erik Karlsson trade rumours, including the tidbit above where Dorion doesn’t totally shut the door on trading inarguably the most valuable defenceman in the league since Lidstrom.
“Mind-blowing deal” eh? That’s what could get this done? With that potentially being the case, I asked the folks around this site to provide what their limit is in giving up a trade package for E.K.
If I was putting together a serious best offer for Erik Karlsson I would probably start with Marner, 2 1sts, and then add Zaitsev because we need to find a way of making the salary work. Zaitsev might be a hard sell for the Sens, so I’d be prepared swap in Connor Carrick because I’d have to imagine a ready to play defenseman has to be part of any package. If I’m being completely honest with myself and how highly I think of Karlsson, I’d probably do Marner, Gardiner, and 2 1sts without stressing it.
The reality is the Senators won’t require the ransom I’m willing to pay, and it would probably be much more of a grab bag of picks and prospects that would be dealt and if Karlsson doesn’t wind up a Leaf be prepared for the hottest of “that’s all it took?” takes to flood the internet.
Because this exercise as a whole is without a doubt ludicrous at its core, I’m going to go one step further and just throw in Frederik Andersen into the mix. The Senators need goaltending help, badly, and with their two goalies signed for this year and the next two after it, they’re kind of screwed as Craig Anderson and Mike Condon are currently putting up a .900 and .894 save percentage, respectively.
Sure, trading away the Leafs MVP this season doesn’t make a ton of sense – but at the end of the day, the Leafs need to eventually push away from being so reliant on the man in net and start being able to dominate teams based on the eighteen skaters on the ice. Andersen and a first round pick for Karlsson and Condon, and go from there to find your next goalie. Heck, call up Garret Sparks and/or Calvin Pickard and run them as the starter. Who cares? You’ve got Erik Karlsson now.
All of my major organs.
Well, it would probably take an elite, high end NHL player, top prospect, and a couple picks to bring in Karlsson, especially if we’re talking a division rivalry. The Leafs would probably have to cough up at least one of Marner/Nylander, Liljegren, and two firsts. If that’s a bit much, take out Marner/Nylander, and swap in JVR or Brown or someone of that second tier caliber.
Or who knows, it’s Ottawa, they might make it straight up for Nikita Zaitsev.
I’d try to start off with including as many longterm futures as possible, like the first rounders for 2018 and 2019 and perhaps a later one. That wouldn’t be enough to get you away from having to pony up one of Nylander or Marner, however, and if that’s the case I probably unload Marner because I give a slight edge to Willie.
Where it gets tricky is if Ottawa is insistent on a prospect like Dermott or Liljegren as well, and that would definitely present a hang-up on the Leafs end. A “now” player like Gardiner probably makes sense here, especially since you know he’s out the door when Karlsson re-ups in 2019 anyway, and the Sens still need to ice some NHL players to avoid an absolute attendance crisis. Essentially my deal is the same as Jon’s: Marner, Gardiner, and two firsts. But like he said, we’ll all pull our hair out when it’s Rasmus Ristolainen, Alex Nylander and a 2nd rounder from Buffalo that gets it done.