NHL Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Erik Karlsson, Justin Faulk and More

Franklin Steele@FranklinSteeleAnalyst IIJuly 9, 2018

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) adjusts his helmet during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes defeated the Senators 2-1. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

So far the NHL offseason has been one big game of hurry up and wait—and no one likes that game. Heading into the draft, we thought we'd see fireworks, but the storm cloud of John Tavares' pending free agency put out all the lit fuzes.

Once Tavares chose to join the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, it seemed like the wheels of the league's trade machine should have been greased, but that's not the way things have shaken out.

With Erik Karlsson still in play on the trade front and the Ottawa Senators not budging on their demands, the rumor mill has more or less ground to a halt.

Teams that are in on Karlsson aren't even looking at re-signing their own important pending free agents until the defenseman is moved.

For instance, it appeared that signing Tyler Seguin to an extension would top the Dallas Stars' to-do list entering the offseason.

They were in on Tavares until the bitter end, though (per Josh Lile of the Dallas Morning News), and Sean Shapiro of The Athletic reported that they'd emerged as a front-runner for Karlsson on July 4. That makes re-upping a player of Seguin's caliber difficult, given all the money involved.

He's been one of the most productive forwards in the NHL over the last three seasons, yet general manager Jim Nill is waiting on getting him back under contract until Karlsson is traded.

That's bonkers when you think about it.

It is safe to assume that if Dallas isn't willing to ink Seguin to a new deal until the Karlsson Saga is complete, then business is being jammed up all over by the drama that is unfolding in Ottawa.

Still, there have been some rumblings as the NHL's rumor machine tries to exit its funk.


Pittsburgh Penguins Not In On Max Pacioretty

Like Karlsson, it seems like we've been waiting for a Max Pacioretty trade to break all summer long. The reality is that we've been tapping our foot while the Montreal Canadiens sift through their options since the trade deadline.

According to Eric Engels of Sportsnet, Pacioretty was nearly moved to the L.A. Kings during the draft, but that deal crumbled for a variety of complicated reasons.

He's since been connected to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that is looking for a bit more offensive pop on the wings this summer.

Dennis Bernstein @DennisTFP

Rumblings remain over Max Pacioretty’s future with the Habs, as we’ve heard the Penguins have recently inquired about his availability. Mindful of Pens cap situation, salary would need to go back in a potential deal.

Dan Kingerski of PittsburghHockeyNow.com is disputing the notion that the Canadiens will be trading their captain to the Penguins, however, writing the following in a post over the weekend:

"Despite recent national reports, multiple sources at different levels of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization have confirmed to Pittsburgh Hockey Now the Penguins are not in serious talks to acquire Montreal Canadiens left wing and captain Max Pacioretty.

"The sources conceded the Penguins did make contact with Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin about Pacioretty. The Canadiens ask for Pacioretty was too rich for Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford and the talks did not gain traction or advance past preliminary stages."

As Kingerski also noted, one phone call could change all that. Yet for the time being, it doesn't look like Pacioretty will be heading to Steel City.


What's Going On With Erik Karlsson?

You didn't think the Senators were going to quietly collect a first-round pick, prospect and young roster player for Karlsson this summer and then simply move on, did you? That's not how things work in Bytown these days.

This is an organization that has made a habit of landing in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons this year, and the ongoing situation surrounding the All-World defenseman has fallen (perfectly?) in line with the disastrous 2017-18 campaign.

Over the last few days, we've seen the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning jockey to land Karlsson, but no deal has gone through at this point.

David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period is among those to suggest that a third team could be in the mix if the Lightning ends up acquiring the defender, however.

That third squad would essentially be in place for Tampa to dump salary cap space to while including a sweetener or two to make it worth the while. We've seen the New York Rangers emerge as the front-runner to be the third head on this monster, but we apparently shouldn't be counting on the New Jersey Devils either.

David Pagnotta @TheFourthPeriod

For all the talk of the NYR possibly being the 3rd team in the OTT/TB potential trade, I'm told the Devils have also been in the mix and may possibly be the 3rd team when all is said and done. Not set in stone, but NJ has been involved in these talks.

It has also been indicated that a deal isn't particularly close, which shouldn't be too surprising given the staggering amount of moving parts in play here. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet characterized the dynamics as "tricky" on Twitter this past Friday.

That's quite the understatement.


Detroit Red Wings Could Be Looking at Justin Faulk

The Detroit Red Wings refuse to go the full teardown-and-rebuild route—it's tough to blame them, as no one should willingly try to turn into the Buffalo Sabres or Arizona Coyotesinstead insisting on remaining competitive while seasoning their young players at the pro level. 

While signing Thomas Vanek and Mike Green might seem counterintuitive to the whole "get younger" mandate, kicking tires on Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk does not.

On the most recent edition of the 31 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman indicated that the Red Wings had "been in on" Faulk and believes that this continues to be the case.

Chris Nichols @NicholsOnHockey

Friedman: “I had heard that Detroit had been in on Faulk, and I don’t think that’s gone away.” #RedWings #Canes 31 Thoughts: The Podcast

General manager Ken Holland should be looking at every opportunity he has to improve his blue line, and Faulk would immediately become the biggest difference-maker the Red Wings have had on the back end in quite some time.

With a logjam developing at forward, Detroit has some intriguing pieces it could look to flip to Carolina to land Faulk.