The Lightning missed out on the bidding for Islanders star John Tavares, but they're in the mix for another top NHL star, potentially trading to land two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators.
Tampa Bay had pursued Karlsson in February at the trade deadline, ultimately deciding the defenseman's price was too high and instead acquiring Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the Rangers. Adding the 28-year-old would likely cost the Lightning one of their top prospects and perhaps require the shedding of salary from a returning player or two.
The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan reported Thursday that “a source who has a great batting average says he feels ‘very comfortable’ with a source that tells him Karlsson will be traded to the
In addition to the cost to acquire him, Karlsson would be seeking a new contract to make him the Lightning's highest-paid player, above current stars Steven Stamkos ($8.5 million/year) and Victor Hedman ($7.8m/year).
Other teams believed to be in trade talks with Ottawa are Vegas, San Jose and Columbus, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
Karlsson is one of the NHL's top scoring defensemen, averaging 54 assists per season over the last five years. He has scored 126 goals in his nine NHL seasons, joining Hedman among the NHL leaders in minutes per game.