NHL Rumors: Sharks open to trading Erik Karlsson, and Senators coach DJ Smith safe

NHL Rumors Erik Karlsson
Oct 29, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) shoots the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s NHL Rumors focuses on some interesting comments made at the GM Meetings held in Toronto.

As the list of potential players that may be traded grows, a two time Norris Trophy winning defenseman is gaining traction. Erik Karlsson is sure to garner some interest but he won’t be an easy player to move.

Let’s dive in.

NHL Rumors: Erik Karlsson trade

San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier spoke with the media today and had some remarks regarding star defenseman Erik Karlsson.

“I’ll listen, but at the end of the day too, a lot will depend on Erik too,” Grier said after the NHL GM meeting in Toronto. “He’s got the trade protection and [has control over] what he wants to do. I know right now he’s happy. He’s happy in San Jose. His family’s happy there. And we’re thrilled with how he’s playing.”

NHL.com

Karlsson, 32, leads all NHL defensemen in goals with 10 and points at 22. Last season, he scored 35 points in 50 games. His year was cut short due to surgery on his forearm.

Trading him will be a challenge for Grier as Karlsson has a full no-move clause and five more years remaining with an $11.5 million AAV.

Any team that will take on his contract will either require the Sharks to retain 50%, which is unlikely. It’s possible that Grier may have to actually add a sweetener to unload Karlsson to a team on the rise with cap space.

The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils immediately come to mind.

NHL Rumors: Senators DJ Smith safe

NHL Rumors DJ Smith
Oct 29, 2022; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith looks up at the scoreboard during an official review during the second period against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators made a lot of big moves over the summer and were hoping for a better start in order to make the playoffs. Sadly, injuries to key players have had an obvious impact and role in their 5-9-1 record.

There’s been some rumblings on whether or not the Senators would make a coaching change lately. Smith has been with the team since 2019 and his record of 86-113-25 is respectable considering they’ve been rebuilding for years.

Today, at the GM Meetings in Toronto, general manager Pierre Dorion gave his coach a vote of confidence that was further reiterated by Elliotte Friedman in his latest 32 Thoughts podcast.

“You know I heard the other thing too with DJ Smith was not only did he come out publicly and say that he wasn’t going to make a change, he also apparently said that to the team,” Friedman said. “That it wasn’t what he wanted to do.”