NHL Rumors: Trade Chatter Surrounding Erik Karlsson, Rick Nash and More

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2018

Erik Karlsson has the ability to upgrade any team's back line.
Erik Karlsson has the ability to upgrade any team's back line.Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

The NHL trade deadline will be reached Monday afternoon, so there are few days left for teams to posture and throw up false signals about players they might be interested in moving or acquiring.

The real moves could come early, but they are more likely to come in the hours before the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

One of the biggest potential movers is Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson is perhaps the best offensive defenseman playing in the NHL, and he helped the Senators gets to the Eastern Conference Finals last year against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

However, the Senators are struggling badly this season, and general manager Pierre Dorion could be in a major housecleaning mode that includes the stellar defenseman and other players like forward Bobby Ryan.

NHL insider Bob McKenzie reported on TSN that the Senators are open to the idea of trading Karlsson. McKenzie pointed out that being willing to trade a player and actually completing the deal can be two different things. 

Dorion wants excellent value for Karlsson, who will be under contract in 2018-19, meaning he is not just a rental for the rest of the season. The Ottawa general manager is reportedly in talks with a half-dozen teams regarding Karlsson, and the more teams that are interested, the more value the Senators should be able to get for his services.

The Senators have also let potential trade partners know that the soon-to-be 31-year-old Ryan is also available. If Dorion makes Ryan and his $7.5 million salary (cap hit $7.25 million) part of a Karlsson deal, it could make it more difficult to complete the trade.

Karlsson has five goals and 37 assists this season, but in keeping with Ottawa's poor season, he has a minus-29 rating.

Rick Nash of the Rangers could be on the move.
Rick Nash of the Rangers could be on the move.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The New York Rangers also are likely to be moving some key veteran assets with the hope of acquiring high draft picks and/or young and developing talent for the future. Powerful Rick Nash is likely to be one of their most attractive assets, and Pierre LeBrun of TSN, RDS and The Athletic-Toronto says "five or six teams" have been in contact with the Rangers about his services.

The Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets are among the teams that are potentially interested in Nash's services.

Nash has 18 goals and 10 assists this season, and the Rangers held him out of Thursday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres was mentioned during last year's trade deadline, but he remained with his team.

Kane is once again considered a player that could be moved at the trade deadline. NHL insider Darren Dreger of TSN reported that Buffalo general manager Jason Botterill has at least two offers that he can consider.

There could be sticking points, because the Sabres are interested in draft picks and young prospects, and those offers may involve veteran players.  

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