Senators: Let the Erik Karlsson Speculation Begin

Summer is upon us and so is the obligatory news and scuttlebutt based on microscopic nuggets of actual fact with respect to what could be a rather busy off-season. After the Stanley Cup is awarded and the proverbial dust has settled, a number of franchises have work to do and a number of players have decisions to make.

Enter Erik Karlsson.

Conjecture is rampant that the former Ottawa Senator could once again become an Ottawa Senator. The defenceman will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He was, of course, traded to the San Jose Sharks after everything fell apart in Ottawa and a long-term contract was not in the cards.

So why on earth would Karlsson consider returning to the nation’s capital now? Especially after, you know, everything.

For one, “sources” have said that Karlsson’s wife is homesick. This comes from the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan, who was widely cited Tuesday as unearthing the news that Karlsson was hoping to obtain offers from both the Senators and Montreal Canadiens.

But there’s also the notion that Karlsson wants to stay in San Jose, where he has a chance of winning. If the Sharks can keep the bulk of their playoff core together, that puts the club at the top of the list when it comes to raising the Cup. Going back to the Senators, who’re in the midst of a rather muddled rebuild, isn’t exactly the path of least resistance.

Of course, the Sens have bolstered fortunes with the acquisition of new head coach D.J. Smith and that could change the general outlook for Karlsson. Smith’s defensive-minded style would certainly profit from the addition of the 29-year-old, but what coach wouldn’t love to have the guy?

There’s also the matter of salary. Karlsson is purportedly asking more cash than Eugene Melnyk is willing to cough up and that’s kind of a deal-breaker, since the two aren’t exactly best of friends. But absence could make the heart grow fonder and the blueliner could taper off his asking price, particularly if there’s pressure on the home front.

This is, naturally, speculative. Karlsson will undoubtedly entertain any and all offers and he may well stay in northern California. Notwithstanding injuries, he fit in well with the Sharks. And despite an innocent tweet that many considered to be part of an exit strategy for the San Jose faithful, there are no definite indications from Karlsson himself as to his next move.

And so, we wait.

(Photo credit: NHL.com)

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