There are fewer and fewer potentially available defensemen for this summer’s unrestricted free agency market.
A Thursday evening hit on TSN’s Insider Trading mentioned extensions already having been agreed to for Drew Doughty, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Ellis, and, most recently, Nate Schmidt.
“This was supposed to be the great class of 2019 where we had all of these superstar and star defensemen on the market,” noted Pierre LeBrun. “It’s shrinking by the day. James Duthie in a fetal position because Free Agent Frenzy on July 1 is diluting right now.
“Listen, there’s still a big dog, that’s Erik Karlsson, who has yet to make a decision, I’m told. His camp and the Sharks have agreed, ‘Hey, wait until January to pick up the conversation again about Erik Karlsson’s future.’
“Tyler Myers, there had been very little dialogue between his agent, J.P. Barry, and the Winnipeg Jets. Hey, Winnipeg had a busy off-season. But I’m told that J.P. Barry is slated to speak with GM Kevin Cheveldayoff in the near future.
“Jake Gardiner, we know that last week his agent, Pat Brisson, was in Toronto and met with Kyle Dubas; but, of course, he’s on the back burner while they figure out Nylander, Matthews, and Marner.
“Bottom line guys, hard to get Top 4 D. It’s going to be even harder on July 1.”
LeBrun reported earlier this season that if Karlsson wants to sign an eight-year max term extension with the San Jose Sharks, it can’t be done until after the trade deadline since he was on the roster of the Ottawa Senators after the last trade deadline.
Whether Myers or Gardiner will re-up with the Winnipeg Jets or Toronto Maple Leafs remains to be seen, but both clubs would likely retain their respective defenseman past the trade deadline as an own-rental for a potential Cup run regardless.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly