NHL Rumors: Penguins pursuit of Erik Karlsson, and Devils goalie hunt

Today’s NHL Rumors follows up on the latest regarding the New Jersey Devils goalie search and the Pittsburgh Penguins pursuit of Erik Karlsson.

Whether you are into the latest trade buzz, signing news and more, stick with The Daily Goal Horn.

NHL Rumors: Penguins stars want Erik Karlsson

erik karlsson
Mar 8, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) skates onto the ice before the game against the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Karlsson, 33, registered 101 points in 82 games last season to earn his third Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman. His historic 100+ points season was the first time a defenseman cracked that plateau since Brian Leetch did it with the New York Rangers in 1991-92.

Needless to say, Karlsson’s been a top trade target on a rebuilding San Jose Sharks team since last year. The two teams considered the frontrunners to land him in a trade are the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, with the latter making the most noise in recent days.

According to The Athletic’s Rob Rossi, captain Sidney Crosby and star defenseman Kris Letang are in full support of acquiring Karlsson. The Pens’ reporter also noted that newly hired executive Kyle Dubas pitched the plan to go after Karlsson as part of his interview process with ownership.

Currently, the Penguins are at at -$2.291 million in cap space per CapFriendly. That means Pittsburgh needs to shed salary and likely work with a third team to make this trade work.

One potential player the Pens can move is 35 year-old defenseman Jeff Petry and his $6.25 million cap hit for the next two seasons. He has a 15 team trade list and Rossi revealed that the Michigan native wants to stay close to home.

Dubas certainly will have to get creative in acquiring Karlsson, but having the ringing endorsements of management and star players takes the pressure off.

NHL Rumors: Devils goalie hunt

nhl recaps john gibson
Dec 28, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) defends the goal against Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After missing out of first-place in the Metro division by a point to the Carolina Hurricanes and knocking off a good Rangers team in 7 games the Devils believe they’re a contender.

Akira Schmid and Vitek Vanecek played well last season, but Jersey is looking to improve their situation in goal with either Connor Hellebuyck or John Gibson.

“John Gibson is still in Anaheim and I think New Jersey has looked at both Hellebuyck and Gibson among others,” Elliotte Friedman said on NHL Network.

Gibson, 30, posted a 14-31-8 mark with a GAA of 3.99 and a .899 save percentage for a bad Ducks squad. However, his career stats are much better with a 2.83 GAA and .912 save percentage in 431 appearances.

Hellebuyck, 30, had a 37-25-2-4 record in 2022-23 with a GAA of 2.49 and a .920 save percentage. Unlike Gibson, he has no type of trade protection.

It should also be noted that the Boston Bruins are open to trading either Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman. The Devils could possibly look in that direction if the Ducks and Jets demands are too high.