Silver Nuggets: Negotiating with Erik Karlsson

Over the last day, there has been an article by Ken Campbell at The Hockey News and Wayne Scanlan at the Citizen advocating for considering Erik Karlsson as this season's Norris Trophy winner. His entry level contract also expires at the end of this season, after which he is a restricted free agent. Those kind of accolades certainly help Karlsson's case in negotiating a new deal.

Let's take a look at some points to consider for Karlsson's extension:

  • Career year: Karlsson is having a spectacular year, currently on pace for 76 points in only his third season. He'd be the 10th defenceman in NHL history to get 75 points in a season within the first three years of his career and only the second in history to do it outside the run-and-gun era of the 70s and 80s. He's also improving in other areas, and after this season, I would rank him as above-average defensively. Karlsson will be an all-star for the second time in his short career.
  • Comparable styles: The two players often mentioned in terms of comparables are Kris Letang and Mike Green. Letang signed a 4-year $14 million deal after a 27 point season and Green signed a 4-years $21 million contract after a 56 point season. Letang's deal is a non-starter as a comparable because he hadn't become an elite player at that point. Green is more valid, but Karlsson will likely blow 56 points out of the water and Green's contract was three years ago. Prices have gone up.
  • Comparable circumstances: Shea Weber signed a 1-year $7.5 million deal after a career year. Weber is a very different player from Karlsson but when the parties couldn't agree on a long term deal, they simply signed a 1-year deal.
  • Karlsson is an RFA with no arbitration rights: With no arbitration rights, Karlsson can either take a deal from Ottawa, hope he gets an offer sheet, or hold out. Karlsson is unlikely to get an offer sheet over $7.8 million that would give the Senators four 1st round picks. A deal in the $6.2 to $7.8 million range would give the Senators two 1st rounders as well as second and third round picks. What does Ottawa do if a contending team gives Karlsson 10 years $70 million? Having said that, as we saw this summer, offer sheets are very rare even for star players.
  • Contract length: Four years is probably the worst length of contract that the Senators can sign as it will make Karlsson an unrestricted free agent at the earliest possible time. A longer deal will "buy out" some of his UFA years while a shorter deal allows the Senators to revisit Karlsson's progress.
  • CBA expires: The new CBA could alter the landscape. If the new deal rolls back existing contracts or lowers the salary cap, it will certainly change the way a club handles its future contracts.
It is in the Senators best interest to sign Karlsson sooner rather than later. He might not win the Norris Trophy, but there is a good chance he will be a finalist, which is going to only increase his value. The Warren article above compares Karlsson to Duncan Keith, with both players being smooth skaters that are not physically imposing. Keith was signed in December 2009 of his Norris Trophy winning season in 2009-2010 for 13 years and $72 million, a cap hit just above $5.5 million. How much would Keith have gotten after he had won the trophy? The only reason to delay signing Karlsson is the expiration of the CBA.

Lastly, Erik, I know you are a long time reader of the nuggets. We should hang out when you visit Toronto in a couple of weeks, I won't offer any Caesars. Clearly a mango smoothie is the way to go.

General Sens News

  • Forward lines in practise: 1) Greening-Spezza-Michalek, 2) Condra-Turris-Alfredsson, 3) Foligno-Smith-Butler, 4) Daugavins-Konopka-Neil. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
  • Chris Phillips did not practise but Sergei Gonchar did. The pairings were: 1) Kuba-Karlsson, 2) Cowen-Gonchar, 3) Lee-Carkner. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
  • The six players with guaranteed selection in the All-star game will be announced with Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and Tim Thomas currently leading the way. Karlsson has closed the gap on Kessel to 7,000 votes for the overall lead. All of the Senators are obviously very happy with the fan support. (Ottawa Sun)
  • Milan Michalek hasn't scored since his return from injury but Paul MacLean thinks he is playing fine. He's still got a five goal lead over Spezza for the team lead. He only has three more assists than Craig Anderson though. (Ottawa Sun)
  • Paul MacLean thinks we won't see the best of Kyle Turris until next season due to Turris missing training camp this season. Also a little story about Karlsson and Alfredsson playing keepaway. Alfie says the best player at keepaway he has ever faced was Alex Kovalev. (CBC)
  • In case you missed it in the comments yesterday, Robin Lehner spoke at length (15 minutes!) to Joy Lindsay about getting in an altercation with the referees. His decision was wrong, but you can see his determination and passion for making the NHL and for his teammates. When asked what he would do if he got a lengthy suspension, Lehner responded with "I get a long time of getting jacked in the gym and coming back even better". In the end he only got three games. (Press & Sun-Bulletin)
  • The NHL leaked ticket revenue and Varada took a look at this with Eugene Melnyk often crying poor. Ottawa falls in the middle of the pack in ticket revenue, far behind the other Canadian teams. But this year with the heritage jersey sales, spending far under the cap, they should be well in the green right? There is also the idea of making money from non-hockey ventures. That part I don't really agree with, as wouldn't concerts make the same amount of money whether the Senators were around or not? (Welcome To Your Karlsson Years)
  • According to Corey Pronman, the top 5-6 picks in this year's draft are going to be better than usual but the 7-14 range will be below average. I guess it might hurt a little bit more now if we finish 9th or 10th. (Corey Pronman)

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