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Senators’ negotiations with Erik Karlsson merit monitoring

Even over the course of a summer in which a new CBA will be negotiated, there’s little doubt that a relatively small pool of puck-moving defensemen who may test the open market—including Nashville’s Ryan Suter, Philadelphia’s Matt Carle, Florida’s Jay Garrison and a player whose playoff performance is significantly damaging his value in Washington’s Dennis Wideman—can and should expect to receive significant raises over the course of contracts which will probably challenge whatever parameters of any restrictions on “lifetime” deals.

As the UFA pool is so shallow, however, the statuses of two elite restricted free agent defensemen in Nashville captain Shea Weber and Ottawa Senators defenseman and Norris Trophy finalist Erik Karlsson bear watching closely, and the Ottawa Sun’s rumor-friendly Bruce Garrioch reports that Karlsson’s contract negotiations may be drawn-out (and it is worth noting that Karlsson’s too young to file for arbitration, which would ward off any RFA offer sheets):

Craig Oster, Karlsson’s agent, confirmed by e-mail late Monday there haven’t been any formal talks between the two sides and none are planned at this juncture.

No, this shouldn’t come as any surprise as the season ended less than two weeks ago. The club’s scouting staff is focused on the coming weekend when the group gathers in Ottawa to rate players for next month’s NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. But with Karlsson, 21, set to become a restricted free agent July 1, it’s in the best interests of the Senators to try to get a deal done quickly so GM Bryan Murray can get on with the rest of his summer.

However, some league executives and agents contacted by the Ottawa Sun in the last couple of days predict there’s not going to be anything fast about these talks unless the Senators immediately fork over $7 million per season.

“People in Ottawa should be prepared for this to take until training camp,” said one league executive requesting anonymity. “It could happen if both sides decide to dig in their heels on this one. The one thing you do know: It’s going to get done and Erik Karlsson isn’t going to go anywhere. Both sides will try to use their leverage. There will be pressure points but sooner or later he’s going to sign.”


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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