NHL Rumour Report: Erik Karlsson trade could be imminent

A conclusion to the drawn-out Erik Karlsson sweepstakes could very well be near.

-  It's been a quiet few weeks, but things could be heating up on the Erik Karlsson front. Rumours surfacing this week suggest a trade could come in the next few days.

- The long-awaited trade for the veteran Sharks blueliner has been rumoured to be down to two teams for a while: the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins. A bevy of other teams have kicked tires, including the Panthers, Maple Leafs, Senators, Kraken, Capitals and Oilers.

- But it now appears that the Penguins are in the driver's seat, and could be looking to close the deal in the next few days. The Hurricanes seemed to go in another direction after they signed yet another puck-mover in Tony DeAngelo last month.

- Notably, the Penguins' second buyout window has opened up following the team's contractual settlement with arbitration-eligible Drew O'Connor. It's rumoured the team could use that window to create the extra bit of cap space required to jam Karlsson's contract under the Pens' salary cap.

- The details remain scant: we still don't know which player might be bought out, what pieces will be involved in a deal, or how much of Karlsson's remaining salary is expected to be retained by San Jose. But it's been clear for weeks now that the Penguins have edged ahead of the competition in a bid to lure in the reigning Norris Trophy winner. Considering the way other teams appeared to fall out of the mix, the Sharks may have run out of options.

- Just another note: the Karlsson news could have a domino effect. There are reports suggesting the Sharks might use some of their extra cap space to add Matt Dumba and help replace at least some of the experience lost on their blueline. The Coyotes have long been rumoured as a contender for Dumba as well, and could turn elsewhere if they strike out.

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