Now that we’ve almost picked our jaws up off the floor over whatever the hell that was that Sens’ general manager
Pierre Dorion Eugene Melnyk just did, it’s time to ask the big question: What does this have to do with the Leafs?
Well, besides the fact that an already-disastrous division “rival” just got even worse, the Senators also managed to make part of their Karlsson trade directly about the Leafs. They tried to disguise it, but I see you, Eugene. I see what you did, you coward.
If we pause laughter and break this trade down for a minute, we see the Sens trying to coup some picks in the form of protections on what the Sharks can or can’t do with Karlsson. For instance, if the Sharks sign him, the Sens can get a second-round pick that upgrades to a first should San Jose win the Cup in 2019. Somewhat standard stuff.
Not so standard? The “don’t trade him to the East” clause they included, which stipulates the Sharks hand over another first-rounder if they deal Erik to an Eastern Conference team this season. There are a lot of things you can ask for here. Maybe a better player? How about a sure-thing later round pick? Nope, the Sens go with this protection. And what for? What are they worried about? That Karlsson is going to hurt them in the standings or bite them in the playoffs? Get the hell out of here. No one does this, ever.
Here are the conditions on the picks in Karlsson deal: pic.twitter.com/y6LF0CKqjl
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) September 13, 2018
Dorion, or Melnyk, whatever, didn’t want to live his biggest nightmare: A Toronto team loading up at the deadline for a Cup run and looking for a right-handed defenceman that all of a sudden isn’t on a division opponent. You might think I’m running on a joke here about how “everything is about the Leafs” but in all seriousness, I’m not sure it’s far from the truth at all. Ottawa put in this protection for a reason, and this one is about as plausible as any.
Could the Sharks deal Karlsson to Tampa, a place he’s rumoured to sign next summer? Sure, but why would that really hurt the Sens? The only Eastern Conference team that would pose disaster for the Sens with Karlsson on the roster is the Toronto Maple Leafs. I’m 100 percent serious. The egg on Melnyk’s face in that scenario might singlehandedly force the Senators’ relocation. It would be an absolute wreck. Only 4000 season tickets sold for 2018-19? They’d sell 400 the following year if the Leafs made a run with Karlsson while Ottawa went into the lottery without their own pick. Disaster, disaster, disaster.
Maybe not everything has to be about the Leafs, but the happenings over the last two years or so between these two clubs have broken the Sens to the point of putting this protection in, and there’s no other team it really could be about.