Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray tells Bruce Garrioch of the Toronto Sun that he plans to have more serious contract talks with pending restricted free agent defenseman Erik Karlsson.
We’ll get started within the next week, if not earlier. We’ll get an idea what their thoughts are. We’ll do the same and then get some work done here.
While the club has had some informal talks with Karlsson’s representatives, Murray says it’s time to talk money and term.
We’ve had informal conversations, but that’s all. Now, we’ve got to get going on term and what we think is fair from our point. We’ll have to find out what they think and where we can go dollar-wise.
Garrioch suggests that Karlsson, who has been nominated for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top blueliner, could command a similar deal to the one signed by Drew Doughty with the Los Angeles Kings last September: $7.0 million for eight years.
Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen suggests that Karlsson could end up with a deal between $6.5-$7.5 million based on contracts signed by other young defensemen.
We have an idea what we think is the ballpark numbers, but we haven’t talked about it so we’re just shooting in the dark. We’ve had conversations with Newport Sports over the years and we’ll both approach it in a professional manner with an understanding that we both have a job to do. We’ll try to do it the best we can for our side.
However, the Senators may not want to go that high. Even if Karlsson had 78 points this season. Murray says that it’s difficult to gauge the value of a player coming out of an entry-level deal with such a successful as the one Karlsson had this year.
We haven’t gone there (as far as money is concerned). I have an idea, looking at comparables and somewhat comparables. He’s a difficult player that way.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was a little more direct when asked about what Karlsson’s salary demands may be. The Senators don’t plan on spending to the cap ceiling, so they have to be careful not to overspend.
All we can offer is opportunity, and that is to be part of a great organization with a shot. If you want to be part of that, our doors are open. We can pay you, but it has to be within a reasonable budget.
Don’t let that talk fool you though. The Senators will not let Karlsson go in any shape or form, says Murray.
Everybody knows, from Erik to their agents, that we want to get something done.
That “something” is a long-term contract.
But the Sens will have to work fast. If they go deep into the summer without getting Karlsson’s autograph on a new contract, Garrioch points out that the possibility of some team offering him an offer sheet increases. While the Senators will match any offer on their star blueliner, they could find themselves having cap trouble.