Friedman: I understand skepticism on Karlsson trade talks tweet

A Wednesday tweet from NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman concerning Erik Karlsson trade talks caught the attention of hockey fans.

During a Wednesday evening appearance on NHL Network, Friedman was asked for more details on his tweet.

“I’ve tried to be really careful with this story because there have been so many close calls,” began Friedman. “As a matter of fact, I’ve said today that there was one assistant general manager who called me and said, ‘Okay, let’s count this: You guys all said he was getting traded at the deadline - didn’t happen. Then there were reports a couple of months ago he was getting traded to Tampa - didn’t happen.’ He says, ‘Why am I going to believe you now?’

“I understand the skepticism, I really do. There have been some real close calls. All I can tell you is that I got a call today and I made a couple of others, and there were some guys who were a bit sheepish about it, but they said yes that it has picked up.

“A few years ago, Dany Heatley showed up on the first day of camp with the Senators and the Senators were like, ‘Can we fix this,’ and they realized they couldn’t and they made the trade right away. It was San Jose. I think they just decided they don’t want to carry this into the season if they can avoid it.

“I think we’re just seeing right now it definitely has picked up steam and let’s hope for everyone’s sake - Karlsson’s, the Senators, the fans there, everybody, the reporters - that maybe we can get something done here.”

Karlsson is in the final season of his contract, and can become an unrestricted free agent at season's end. 

Friedman was asked if any team might be willing to give up a first-round pick in this trade that doesn't carry lottery protection. 

"I have to tell you it's a great question because that's one of the bigger issues now in I think a lot of deals is I don't think anybody wants to give up unprotected first-rounders anymore," noted Friedman. "I think all of them have some kind of protection. We're in a league now where every year there's one of two teams that make the playoffs out of nowhere and every year there's one or two teams that miss the playoffs out of nowhere. 

"Calgary had a real close call with the Islanders when they made the deal for Hamonic. I think a lot of teams looked at that and said that's not going to be easy for that to happen anymore. 

"I think the other part of this is Karlsson is going to want to stay in some of these places long term. I don't think there's any chance a team like Vancouver would want to give up an unprotected first-round pick, especially if they don't think he wants to stay there.

"Now, on Vancouver - one of my compatriots - Iain MacIntyre, who is very tight with the Canucks in terms of his reporting knowledge of them - quoted them as saying it was more like fishing.

"I don't know about that. Vancouver is a team that was in on P.K. Subban in a deal they couldn't do when Dubois couldn't fall to them at the draft. It's been reported that they'd had a meeting internally about Tavares, about offering him big money to go there, and they didn't get a seat at the table.

"As we all know now, Trevor Linden and the Aquilinis - the ownership of the team - parted ways over a difference of opinion over where this team was going. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility at all that the Canucks made this call. It's just the day has unfolded, I just think it's less likely it's going to happen."