In today’s rumor rundown, Erik Karlsson finally speaks on rumors of his potential trade out of Ottawa. Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman believes the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander are still not close on an extension, Vegas is potentially interested in trying their luck with another Russian forward out of the KHL and the Arizona Coyotes are going to give one newly acquired player an opportunity.
What’s Really Going on With Erik Karlsson?
Over the past couple days, the NHL has, once again, gone Karlsson crazy. A report by Elliotte Friedman surfaced that Karlsson trade talks were picking up and one of the teams rumors to be interested was the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks then shot down that rumor by saying they’d had no talks with the Ottawa Senators about Karlsson and that they weren’t sure where that rumor came from.
A day or two later, a report that surfaced that Karlsson would not sign an extension with a Canadian city, suggesting it would make no sense for the Senators to trade him to the Canucks or another Canadian market because he wouldn’t be staying. The latest development comes from Karlsson himself, stating that rumor is false.
Karlsson reached out to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman to refute the report. Friedman couldn’t add whether or not that meant specifically signing in Ottawa or Vancouver or with a team like Montreal or Edmonton, only that the reports he wouldn’t sign with a Canadian team were untrue. Beyond that, Karlsson refused to make any further comment.
One of the interesting things to note in this whole process is that Karlsson has said very little to anyone about his status this or next season. That said, is it safe to assume that by speaking up now and shooting down rumors he wouldn’t sign with a Canadian team, is he trying to help facilitate a trade?
When asked if he thought Karlsson would re-sign in Ottawa, Friedman responded, “Not under this ownership. I have said a couple of times that I thought if the team was sold or he believed the team was going to be sold that might change things. I just don’t see it under this ownership.” He added, “I just feel that he doesn’t think they’re going to have a chance to win.”
Nylander and Toronto Not Close?
Chris Nichols of Nichols on Hockey wrote that Elliotte Friedman felt the Toronto Maple Leafs and forward William Nylander are not close on a contract extension. He said on Sportsnet 960 Thursday that articles written about this negotiation dragging into September might not be far off base.
Suggesting the biggest hurdle was the decision to sign him to a bridge deal or long-term contract, Friedman said, “If I was Nylander, I might be the kind of guy who would bet on a bridge deal. But I think Toronto has kind of tried to negotiate the waters with three guys at once, and it’s not easy.”
Saying that Toronto is probably having trouble navigating how to keep all four guys — Nylander, John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner — Friedman said of Nylander in particular, “the last I’d heard, it wasn’t that close.”
The belief is that GM Kyle Dubas will be telling the other three players agents that Tavares potentially left $15 to $20 million on the table to sign with the Maple Leafs and that for the club to be successful, the other three players will need to consider doing the same.
Vegas Linked to Vladimir Tkachyov
Igor Eronko of Sport-Express passes on a Russian report that the Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee recently held a meeting with Vladimir Tkachyov. Tkachyov is a 24-year-old center out of the KHL whose contract is scheduled to expire next spring. Currently playing for Ak Bars Kazan, he was linked to teams like the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers in 2017, but ended up staying in Russia.
This past season he scored 22 goals and 36 points in 53 games and helped his club win a Gagarin Cup. Interest by NHL teams will certainly still be there and the Golden Knights are rumored to be one of the teams considering bringing him over.
Tkachyov might see Vegas as an interesting option but it should be noted the Golden Knights tried and failed miserably when it came to another Russian prospect — Vadim Shipachyov.
Arizona to Try Galchenyuk at Center
The Arizona Coyotes are deep at the center position with names like Derek Stepan, Christian Dvorak, Brad Richardson, and Dylan Strome all expected to compete for a full-time role this season. One player that will not be excluded from that conversation is newly acquired Alex Galchenyuk.
Galchenyuk wants to prove he can be a top-tier center in the NHL and according to a conversation with Dave Vest of NHL.com, Arizona head coach Rick Tocchet will give him an opportunity there. On getting another shot at center, Galchenyuk said, “That’s where my head is and what my goal is. I’m training really hard and preparing myself for it. I can’t wait to get it started.”