With one tweet, the New York Post‘s Larry Brooks ruined everyone’s night in Ottawa.
Brooks’ tweet was corroborated shortly thereafter by Spornet‘s John Shannon, so it stands to reason that by granting permission to Karlsson’s representatives:1) the formal contract offer that the Senators presented yesterday has been rejected by Karlsson; and or 2) the Senators are close or have a trade agreement in principle, but are awaiting a Karlsson contract extension to close the deal.
Whatever the case, the Senators are one step closer to seeing the best player in their franchise’s history walk out that door.
Predictable, but depressing all the same.
It remains to be seen why Karlsson turned down the Senators offer, but for the organization to allow Karlsson’s representatives to negotiate a contract extension with another team, it’s fair to assume that whatever the Senators offered Karlsson was as far they could go with a contract offer.
Once the terms of Drew Doughty’s eight-year, $88 million contract extension were published, it set the bar for what Karlsson could be expected to fetch and The Athletic‘s Chris Stevenson reported last night that the Senators came in with an offer carrying an average annual value of $10 million per season.
The assumption has to be that this $10 million AAV offer was not the Senators’ first. Teams simply don’t allow others to negotiate with Karlsson unless that was the best the team could offer.
In the first of the team’s three end of the year town hall sessions, owner Eugene Melnyk promised to offer Karlsson an extension before acknowledging, “There’s only so far you can go, but we’re going to go as far as we can.”
The reported $10 million per season offer is competitive, but was it the best the Senators could do?
Considering the organization has shown no hesitancy to go above and beyond finding an extra million or two to give to replacement level talents who congest the bottom-six forward ranks, it’s hard to believe the Senators would not go to the extra mile to come up with a flattering offer that would encourage Karlsson to stay here — especially in lights of their efforts to cut everything from front office costs to player payroll to the bone.
Pervading speculation insists that it may not even have mattered what the numbers were. Thanks to the systemic dysfunction that has plagued this organization and diminished confidence in ownership and this front office’s ability to competently deliver a winner, no one should blame Karlsson for deciding he’s had enough.
After all, Karlsson has spent 10 years in this organization. He married a local girl and has expressed a desire to remain in Ottawa, but now he appears destined to be the latest star to head out that door.
Stars the Favourite to Land Karlsson?
Colleague Chris Stevenson keeps killing it for The Athletic, as he was the first to report that the Dallas Stars are reportedly the favourites to land Karlsson according to two NHL sources.
It’s great to hear that the Senators would not be marginalizing their return on Karlsson by trying to dump the remaining four years and $30 million that is left on Bobby Ryan’s contract with him. (Note: according to a tweet by Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch, Ryan was paid a $2 million signing bonus in May for the 2018-19 season, so technically, there should be only $28 million left on his deal. Only.)
I understand the kind of pressure that comes with trading a franchise player.
Pierre Dorion needs to hit a home run.
The fans will not stomach anything other than a deal that nets the organization a fantastic young building block that they can invest hope in and get excited about.
Whether Miro Heiskanen becomes that player or not remains to be seen, but if you’re Dorion, he’s the kind of blue chip prospect you leverage in trade negotiations against other clubs in hopes they up the ante on their respective offers.
Getting some high-upside assets is obviously the end-goal, but even if Dorion is able to land some excellent future assets, there needs to come a point in time when the organization has to recognize and take ownership for how they put themselves in this situation to begin with.
Too often this franchise has wound up in unfortunate circumstances that necessitate moving the most talented assets off of the roster.
When the trigger is finally pulled on a Karlsson deal, it will be the product of years of incompetence.
It’s high time Eugene Melnyk and the “yes-man” culture he fostered took responsibility for it and took measures to create positive change.