The New York Islanders haven't done much to soften the blow of losing John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs quite yet. The signing of lower-line forwards Leo Komarov, Valtteri Filppula and Tom Kuhnhackl will in no way bring about a resurgence of faith around the franchise.
However, there might be a chance that the trade market could yield not just major help for the league's worst defense last year, but a superstar that could help fans forget about Tavares. Even if it's just a little bit.
After extending a contract extension offer, the Ottawa Senators have allowed teams to negotiate a possible contract extension with defenseman Erik Karlsson and his representatives, as first reported by the New York Post's Larry Brooks. Karlsson is signed through next season and getting him signed to an extension would allow the Senators to trade him this summer while getting a bounty in return.
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And the Islanders are rumored to be in on the hunt.
The 28-year-old Swede is considered one of the best defensemen in the NHL, the two-time Norris Trophy winner a two-way talent that has some calling him the Swedish Bobby Orr.
New York certainly has the assets to acquire Karlsson. With over $23 million worth of cap space, they have the money to give Karlsson a Drew Doughty-like deal, which was eight years, $88 million. It also allows When it comes to getting the trade done with Ottawa, the Islanders have the draft picks and young prospects needed to ensure the Senators don't feel as though they are being shortchanged.
The problem for the Islanders is that this isn't the most ideal destination. After losing Tavares, this is a team in transition that is not a contender in the Eastern Conference just yet. That could change depending on what Lou Lamoriello does this summer, but a lengthy checklist includes acquiring a No. 1 goalie, further help on the blue line and added scoring to help replace the franchise's seventh all-time leading scorer in Tavares.
Karlsson could feel more inclined to sign with the likes of the Tampa Bay Lightning or Vegas Golden Knights, two teams who are much closer to lifting the Stanley Cup, though they can't offer Ottawa what the Islanders could.