Rumour Report: Karlsson, Pacioretty, Tavares & OEL rumours swirl

Speculation continues to swirl around John Tavares, Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Max Pacioretty post-trade deadline.

  • Though he's said and done all the right things, the speculation around pending UFA John Tavares continues post-deadline. A number of teams, including the Rangers, Canadiens, Blues and Maple Leafs, have been long rumoured to be preparing themselves to get into a John Tavares Sweepstakes if it gets that far. Tavares has indicated a desire to remain an Islander, but like Steven Stamkos before him, he may be tempted to explore the market. Stamkos ultimately remained in Tampa, but a number of question marks including long term competitiveness and the time before a new arena is built continue to swirl around the Islanders franchise. Odds are still in favour of the team that drafted Tavares in 2009, but the rumours will remain rampant until he signs on the dotted line. Negotiations aren't expected to begin until the summer.
  • The Erik Karlsson situation feels a lot different, with most expecting the 2019 UFA to be moved at some point this offseason. By all accounts it sounds like Vegas got very close to acquiring Karlsson at the trade deadline, and you'd have to think they'd be the favourite in the summer as well. Tampa would seem to be out of the mix, having acquired Ryan McDonagh for this year and next, as well as giving up some of the cap space and assets that would have been put toward Karlsson. Other teams that were in the bidding war, such as San Jose, Washington and Nashville, could very well circle back in the summer. And once the dust settles after the Stanley Cup finals in June, a lot of new teams will likely join the list of contenders.

  • Max Pacioretty never asked for a trade, but a separation seems both inevitable and beneficial for both sides. The Kings reportedly pushed hard to get Pacioretty before the trade deadline, and should be in good position to continue their pursuit this offseason. A long list of suitors could grow further in the summer, with Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Nashville, Edmonton, Calgary, Florida, Minnesota and Anaheim already in the mix.

  • Speculation has already begun to swirl around Coyotes' franchise defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who is slated to hit free agency in 2019. Some believe he's not likely to re-sign with Arizona, and is a strong candidate to get moved in the summer. GM John Chayka has long maintained that Ekman-Larsson is not available - a position that likely changes if they can't work out an extension. The Maple Leafs and Oilers have been linked to OEL, but many teams are likely to put in a bid if the opportunity arises.
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