Should the Rangers Pursue Erik Karlsson?

Karlsson battles Zuccarello (Getty)

Ever since Erik Karlsson broke into the NHL in the 2009-10 season, he has been a force on the blueline for the Ottawa Senators. Erik Karlsson is a legitimate superstar and would more than help any team he joins, that is, if he decides to leave the Ottawa Senators.

It is safe to say that the Ottawa Senators have had a pretty disappointing year. In May of 2017, the Senators were one goal away from playing in the Stanley Cup Finals (Ranger fans remember this; and please don’t remind me of Pageau)! After the Senators lost in overtime of game seven at the hands of the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, they were high on confidence heading into the 2017-2018 season.

In fact, they were so confident that they traded two quality prospects, a first and third-round pick, and center Kyle Turris in a three-way trade with the Avalanche and Predators. In return, the Ottawa Senators received center Matt Duchene who was supposed to push the Ottawa Senators to the brink of contention;  instead, he struggled in his time with the Senators. The Ottawa Senators finished the 2017-18 season ranked 30th in the league having amassed a measly 67 points through 82 games. But this is not even the worst of it.

Ottawa Senator fans raised over ten thousand dollars to create billboards expressing their discontent with Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.


Ottawa Citizen

Former NHL Star and Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson openly stated that he hopes the Ottawa Senators get new ownership.


Adrian Wyld – CP

The Ottawa Senators’ Assistant General Manager Randy Lee was charged with harassment.


USA Today

A plan for a new downtown arena is underfunded.


Arena Digest

A baby garment featuring the Ottawa Senators’ logo was even recalled due to a choking hazard (ironic, right)?


To make matters even worse, last week, Erik Karlsson’s wife, Melinda Karlsson, filed an application for an order of protection against Monika Caryk, the fiancée of Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman. Melinda Karlsson alleges that Monika Caryk harassed her about the death of her son, and said many derogatory things about Erik Karlsson. Not only this, but there is an active Ottawa police investigation going on to delve deeper into this case, and to see if Monika Caryk was stalking the Karlsson family.


Ashley Fraser – Postmedia

Erik Karlsson’s name has been rumored to be in trade talks since the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline when the Vegas Golden Knights were close to acquiring him. Karlsson has one more year left on his 6.5 million dollar contract and will most certainly demand his raise when his contract expires next year. Is it worthwhile for the Rangers to pursue Erik Karlsson?

To start, it looks like the Karlsson family would love a change of scenery. Currently, the scene in Ottawa is a mess and I’m sure both Erik Karlsson and his wife would love to escape. Where to? New York. What NHL player wouldn’t want to be traded to New York? Living in the Big Apple, the allure of Madison Square Garden; it would be very enticing to me! Plus, Erik Karlsson would be able to play in front of Henrik Lundqvist, one of his closest friends. I’m sure Karlsson wouldn’t mind a reunion with Mika Zibanejad as well.

Before the hiring of David Quinn, Rangers owner James Dolan told the New York Post this when being asked about qualities that he would value in a head coach: “I know we need that one great player who can make a difference. We’ve identified some who might become available, and if they do, we want to be in a position where we’re able to get them. We’re building a lot of data and analytics into our decision-making. And it’s important for the new coach to embrace that.”

It’s no secret that Dolan missed out on a lot of cash with the Rangers missing the playoffs this year, and he wants to the Rangers to become competitive as soon as they possibly can. Having a star on the back end like Karlsson would most certainly help the Rangers get back to contention quickly, but also make more money for Dolan. Erik Karlsson could be the star that Dolan is hinting at in his conversation with the Post.

Is Karlsson worth it? Karlsson has one year left on his bargain contract but after that, is an unrestricted free-agent. The Rangers should only look to acquire Karlsson if they know that he would like to sign long-term on Broadway. Per Capfriendly, the Rangers have a projected amount of 24,950,556 dollars of cap space. They do have to resign several free agents such as Kevin Hayes, Brady Skjei, Jimmy Vesey, John Gilmour, and Boo Nieves, but can do such and still have cap space to spare.

It has been reported that the Ottawa Senators will only trade Karlsson if Bobby Ryan’s contract is absorbed by the other team in the trade. Bobby Ryan has four more years left on his 29,000,000 dollar contract, but if the Rangers are able to trade players with sufficient cap-hits back, the trade is doable.

Erik Karlsson would clearly help the Rangers become a contender once again, but again, we come back to the question: are the Rangers fully embracing the rebuild? If so, Karlsson might not be the wisest option.

Would you trade Karlsson?

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I am a New York Rangers journalist, avid Blueshirt fan, and a long-time hockey player born and raised in... More about Noah Weiss

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