When management and ownership came out last week and essentially said that the organization had two untouchables on the roster - Daniel Alfredsson and an unnamed player assumed to be Erik Karlsson - it got me thinking about Ottawa's young defenceman and whether or not he should be categorized as untouchable.
I'm guessing that some of you are probably wondering why I would consider trading the youngest and best asset that the Senators have on their roster right now. Let me first start out by saying that I do not have a problem moving forward with Erik Karlsson as a building block for this franchise. However, if you had listened to one of the most recent episodes of The 6th Sens Podcast, you will know that I'm not adverse to moving the defenceman if it means that the Senators can parlay him into a better two-way defenceman who can be counted on to play against the opposition's top line on a nightly basis.
Someone like Shea Weber for example.
Hey, it's completely wishful thinking on my part but because of the contract negotiations between the Nashville Predators and Weber, maybe it's possible that he could be made available. In an article earlier this season, ESPN's Pierre Lebrun discussed three scenarios that could come from Weber's negotiations:
1. He signs an extension and life is good in Music City.
2. He does only a one-year deal to bridge himself to his UFA year and he can do this by going to salary arbitration next summer.
3. The Preds get nervous they can't sign him to a long-term extension and put him on the trade block over the summer.In an ESPN Chat with Lebrun yesterday, I posed the question - Is there any update on Shea Weber's contract negotiations? Is the possibility that the Preds may not be able to extend him real?
Pierre responded by saying - Sorry don't have an update. But that will be one to watch. He's one year removed from UFA... if he doesn' t sign a long-term extension by this summer, what do you do if you're Nashville? You have to shop him.
Right, so please don't mistake this as some contrived argument designed to further the notion that Weber won't re-sign in Nashville. For all intents and purposes, he still is expected to be retained by the organization. However, for entertainment, let's assume that Lebrun's third scenario plays itself out. Would this not be the kind of situation that you would want to see the Senators exploit? I mean, how often does a dominant young defenceman become available?
Obviously moving an asset like Karlsson would be a difficult decision but this is all about trading potential for a proven good. As much as this organization has a tendency to romanticize its core players and prospects, if management has the opportunity this summer to acquire a 25-year old defenceman who is amongst the top five in his position, they have to be aggressive in their pursuits. (Please note: Obviously the caveat to any trade with Nashville would be a contract extension for Weber. If you can't get a window to negotiate an extension, you walk away or try and negotiate some conditional compensation in the event that you can't sign him.)
Shea would represent the legitimate number one defenceman that the organization has lacked since Zdeno Chara left for Boston. Personally, I look at a player like Karlsson and wonder if his size and strength will prevent him from being anything more than the next Phil Housley - a speedy offensive defenceman but whose defensive shortcomings prevented him from being mentioned in the same breath as some of the greats from the '80's and early-'90's eras.
More importantly, if Ottawa's serious about making a bid for Weber, Karlsson's market value might never be higher. Let's look at some quick facts:
- He would have a year left on his inexpensive entry level contract.
- He appeared in his first All-Star Game this season.
- He could very well lead the Senators in scoring by the end of the season.
- He's a young asset who would be under team control for many more years.
- If another organization threatened Nashville with an offer sheet, odds are that Weber wouldnt' sign it unless he was being egregiously overpaid or he was signing with a Cup contender. If compensation was looking like it would be two low first rounders, a second and a third, wouldn't you prefer a NHL-ready package involving Karlsson?
Should a guy like Karlsson be untouchable? Have at it in the comment thread...
Things are heating up around here. Karlsson is not untouchable. Nichols is just showing that there could be deals out that there that would be worth considering. Karlsson is a great player and I think he has more all star games in his future. Outside of Ottawa, this guy gets little to no attention. I'd trade him for a lot of guys the same age or younger.
If you can move Karlsson for Weber you do it, obviously.
But if any organization has a glut of highly mobile offensive d-men(a few of them undersized) it's Nashville.
Something tells me Karlsson wouldn't be that attractive an asset to Poile.
@Lewy I just think they'd be looking towards someone with more all-around ability.
If it came to Weber being shopped I imagine there'd be 20 teams with proposals on the table and at least a few would be more attractive than Karlsson +.
@Wham_City I'll disagree with this. Sure, they have a large settlement of them, but how many are NHL-ready? The first three, sure. Blum may make the jump next year. But most agree that Ellis, Josi and C-OR aren't ready and won't be for 2-3 years. If they're losing Weber, hypothetically, wouldn't they want a guy who can play in the bigs, eat up big minutes and complement his teammates?
That said, I agree that they might be better served by looking for a defensive or all-around D-man... or keeping Weber and stick to the status quo.
@Wham_City Great point.
I would have to look at the developement of Cowen, Rundblad and Wiercioch. If you can count on two of these other prospects to be top 4 NHL defensemen within the next 3 years, I can swallow losing Karlsson for a proven number one for years to come. If not, why risk having to pay for someone outside the organization to fill Karlssons role when we've already drafted and molded such a player.
When you are proposing an idea and you say it "would do less irreparable damage" it doesn't make it sound too exciting.
I think we need to stop these type of posts. We're turning into Toronto fans...thinking every top-end player should/could end up playing here. Based on the history of that franchise, the chance of Nashville pulling the plug on him before next season is extremely low.
@Nichols6thSens Don't be so hard on yourself. You've had some S64's today too.
Let's keep in mind the quality of posts on most other websites before we become too critical. Try reading the comments on the Sun's site sometime.
@MelnyksHangovers Great or genius? That's a bigger reach than my comment that it might not take a first round pick to acquire Weber.
@Nichols6thSens I think 4 means great comment. Some of mine fall into this category. 5 would be outstanding, pure genius. The majority of mine are 5's, especially this one.
Going forward I think anybody who posts a 6S1 or 6S2 quality comment should be banned from the site.
@MelnyksHangovers Alright, humour me. 4 & 5 respectively meaning what?
@Nichols6thSens You should create a comment ranking system, similar to Eklund's trade system. I think some of my comments would be rated (6S4) or (6S5) for sure.
@MelnyksHangovers Nah, it's all yours.
@Nichols6thSens Is this still the comment of the day, or has something else passed it?
@Nichols6thSens Ok. So now the plan is that we'll trade for Weber without giving up either this year or next year's first rounder? That seems reasonable.
@MelnyksHangovers Right. But a lottery pick this year and a top ten pick next year would remedy that, no?
@Nichols6thSens I agree. Top pairing D is very important. However, the situation for Ottawa right now is that they have 3-4 very young D that are all projected to be top-4, and they have zero young forwards that have top-six potential.
@MelnyksHangovers Great comment and I agree, Parise would be a great fit for the Sens.
This sort of debate lends itself to wondering how to build a team.
Personally, I'm of the opinion that it's tougher to land a number one defenceman than it is to acquire some scoring up front. (Whether that's through free agency or the draft.)
@Nichols6thSens Actually Fletcher said a very similar thing about Burns on the radio this week. But that really isn't the point.
If I were Ottawa i'd be trying to get Parise, not Weber. The biggest area of need is clearly up front, finding a winger to play with Spezza. I think with NJ's owernership and cap situation making a trade for Parise would be more realistic and logical than getting Weber.
@MelnyksHangovers "We've got some kids coming but, let's be honest, they're not the calibre of Shea Weber," said Fenton. "It would hurt an awful lot. But if that's the hand we were dealt, we'll move on."
How many of those players that you listed had their Assistant GMs come out and say that?
@Nichols6thSens Awesome. Pierre Lebrun lays out three options, all of which are completely obvious to anybody with a pulse. I could tell you the same thing about 200 guys in the league. They will either sign a long-term deal with their team, sign a short-term deal with their team, or not sign anything.
I heard from Pierre that those three options also apply to Doughty, Stamkos, Duchene, Burns and Parise.
@MelnyksHangovers Based off what Lebrun was saying, one may be available this summer. Hence the point of the article and the polarizing discussion that I assumed would come out of it.
@Nichols6thSens Yes. I read it. I just have trouble understanding the point of conversations like this. We're talking about two players that are highly unlikely to be moved. I know you were using Weber as an example, but there just aren't other guys out there that are similar , so I'm not sure what he's an example of. Seriously, how many guys around the league who are good enough and young enough to consider moving EK for will be availabe in the next couple of years? Maybe one? Most liekly zero.
Why don't we talk about guys who could actually be moved?
@MelnyksHangovers Apology accepted. You did read this part of the blog, right?
"Right, so please don't mistake this as some contrived argument designed to further the notion that Weber won't re-sign in Nashville. For all intents and purposes, he still is expected to be retained by the organization. However, for entertainment, let's assume that Lebrun's third scenario plays itself out. Would this not be the kind of situation that you would want to see the Senators exploit?"
@Nichols6thSens I apologize. I'm sorry. This is an excellent post. Mostly because trading a 20 year-old, 50 point, all-star defenseman makes a lot of sense, but also because there are so many top-end players available that would warrent giving up on Karlsson 1.5 years into his career. I can think of at least zero.
@MelnyksHangovers You missed the point of the article, it's not so much about getting Shea Weber as it is meant to serve as discussion fodder for whether a guy like Erik Karlsson should be designated as untouchable. I argue that he shouldn't be if the right deal for a guy like Weber could be made available.
And while we're at it, can we refrain from these lame generalities and insecurities about turning into Leafs fans? Thanks.