The last Five Thoughts before we all lose our minds after an Erik Karlsson trade? I sure hope not.
Karlsson seems as good as gone
Although I don’t think Karlsson will be moved at the deadline due to the complexities of a trade and a limited market right now, it seems inevitable that he won’t be re-signing with Ottawa after 2018-19. There is an incredible amount of smoke right now, and it’s not just a few people in the media reporting about it—it’s everybody.
The tidbits from Travis Yost this past week make the situation appear incredibly bleak, and it’s making me very pessimistic about everything:
One thing worth reiterating from Insider Trading today — ownership has blessed the option to trade Karlsson in the summer vs at the deadline.— Travis Yost (@travisyost) February 23, 2018
Doesn’t sound like there’s anything in plan to shoot for retention.
If the rumours around Karlsson were simply unsubstantiated, then perhaps I’d brush it off. However, when Hockey God Bob McKenzie is talking about it, you know that there’s at least a possibility:
“The reality is Ottawa Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion has been, and still is, engaged in some level of trade dialogue for Karlsson with multiple NHL teams, certainly more than a half-dozen.
For now, that’s all that matters.”
I know people want to dismiss these rumours because it’s not what they want to hear, but we have to face the facts: there are serious doubts over whether Karlsson will sign his next contract as an Ottawa Senator. If the money and terms were offered to Karlsson on July 1st, he’d probably re-sign, but I doubt Ottawa is comfortable offering that. Although he may not be gone by Monday, there’s a decent chance he will be gone in the summer.
And if that’s the case, we have every right to riot because...
Melnyk has no plan to win
This has been talked about extensively, but if Eugene Melnyk actually gives the go-ahead to move Karlsson, then it just proves he doesn’t have any plan whatsoever to win. Even if he isn’t traded once the deadline passes, I still won’t have any faith that Melnyk has any idea what he has to do to make the Senators organization a consistent contender. He’s simply content being a bubble team that never gets better than that.
It comes down to money, and for him, making a profit is more important than putting a good product on the ice and keeping a generational talent. Ross outlined his financial problems on Tuesday, and with that in mind, I don’t see how he can run a successful franchise that employs a fraction of the amount of people that a normal team should. Furthermore, it’s clear that nobody wants to work with him considering the amount of people that keep leaving the organization.
If Karlsson is traded, we’ll hear rhetoric about his play diminishing and how it was better to maximize the return right now. In reality, it’s about saving money, which is funny because in the long run he could lose money because of how many fans stop showing up to games and boycott the team.
Just ask yourself, can you honestly imagine Ottawa winning a Stanley Cup with Melnyk as an owner? Because I can’t. You need someone who can spend, and if they can’t spend, then they should at least think outside the box and “Moneyball” their way to being successful. I’m beating a dead horse here, but I am going to lose the tiny amount of faith I had in this organization if the captain is traded.
Keep Duchene & Hoffman together forever
In more positive developments, Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman continue to play incredibly well together. Duchene has 22 points in his last 22 games, and Hoffman has 15 in that same span (although without his last four pointless games that looks even better), and they are my favourite duo to watch on this team in a long time.
Their electric speed can terrorize their opponents, and you can see that even if they aren’t scoring, they should at least be getting more chances when on the ice. I still don’t think Hoffman will be traded before the deadline, and I hope that the chemistry between these two is one of the reasons why Dorion would be hesitant to make a deal.
The solid play between these two combined with the excellent overall performances this year from Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel are why I believe this team can be competitive next year if they improve their depth, but the organization might have other plans.
Can’t tank for next season
The one thing that perplexes me about a potential Karlsson trade is that Ottawa would essentially be punting next season while they don’t even have their own first round pick. This would be like the Toronto Maple Leafs season in 2009-10 when they finished 2nd last but didn’t even get Tyler Seguin.
Of course, Dorion can opt to give up this years pick to the Avalanche instead, but that would be a big gamble if it’s in the top-5. I don’t know if I’d be able to follow a Karlsson-less Senators season without the excitement of getting a top player in the draft. That honestly sounds like hell.
I’d like to think that if it were up to Dorion, he’d go for it next season, because that’s the only sensible thing to do without a first round pick. However, with Melnyk involved, I’m not sure Pierre will get to do what he wants.
I have a feeling we’ll be wishing Ottawa had that 2019 first rounder.
Predictions for the deadline
The trade deadline is of course three days away, so I’ll give some predictions as to what Dorion does. Bruce Garrioch had this interesting note, so I will base my predictions off that:
Garrioch's deadline predictions on Question Period: "I think (the #Sens) trade one of Hoffman/Smith, one of Pageau/Brassard and I think Johnny Oduya gets dealt for a late-round pick." Garrioch says he thinks Oduya is the most likely to move.— We Have A Plan In Place (@Sens_Army_) February 23, 2018
I’ll say that Johnny Oduya goes to Philadelphia for a 6th round pick, Zack Smith goes to Vegas for a 2nd, and Derick Brassard goes to Pittsburgh for Tristan Jarry and a 4th. Obviously these are just semi-educated guesses and getting Jarry might be unrealistic, but I’m curious to see if any of them are close at all.
What do think they will do before the deadline?