Dreger: Karlsson trade scene like herding cats

Another day passed with Erik Karlsson waking up still a member of the Ottawa Senators, but that time may finally be coming to an end.

Then again, the way things have unfolded in Ottawa over the last year, who the hell knows.

“Our information collectively here is that this thing has been narrowing to a point,” indicated Darren Dreger during a Thursday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690. “And that point, at least based on intel yesterday, was expected to reach its pinnacle today at some point.

“Now, everything about the Ottawa Senators seems to be a mystery. So I’m not going to stake my reputation on saying that I’m 100 percent certain that a deal will be done today involving Erik Karlsson, but I do trust my sources and every indication is that Eugene Melynk wants this saga to end. I’m sure that Erik Karlsson’s teammates, even though he’s well-liked inside that room, would prefer that they don’t have to deal with this on a day in and day out basis moving forward.

“And based on Melnyk’s video the other night, I mean clearly Ottawa is in rebuild according to the owner. So it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to keep him. Unless - unless - Pierre Dorion is a magician and he can convince his owner that the deal he’s going to make is going to get better in time. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that theory because as we know, it’s so difficult to maximize big trades in-season when rosters are effectively set.

“The best deal for me would have been at least, if not at the trade deadline with the Vegas Golden Knights, then at a varying point inside this offseason, and obviously Dorion didn’t find that deal yet.”

Dreger was asked which teams he thought may be in the mix for Karlsson, and if that list included the Golden Knights.

“Vegas believes they’re still in it, but I don’t think that they’re burning up a whole lot of concern or adrenalyn waiting for Dorion to make that final call and sign off on it,” said Dreger. “But yeah, they’re still an interested participant. I would lump the Dallas Stars into that. Some want to include the San Jose Sharks. I don’t know that San Jose has been as active of late, but a lot can change with a simple phone call. There are some who are wondering if Erik Karlsson would go to San Jose. I mean, that’s the stuff that’s percolating.

“I’m just at the Mastercard Centre in Toronto here for the Maple Leafs, but as I was driving I got a call from a junior contact, believe it or not, who suggested that maybe the New Jersey Devils has inched their way into the process.

“And we haven’t talked about the possibility of Tampa Bay. Is there a way that newly-minted general manager Julien BriseBois puts whatever the Yzerman deal was back onto that table with a little sweetener.

“So honestly man, it’s like herding cats with this one. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I can appreciate Dorion’s position because it’s Erik Karlsson. He’s a world-class, elite NHL defenseman. But every time we think it’s finally in the eleventh hour, the owner gets involved or something turns and it just drags on.”

Karlsson is in the final season of his contract, which carries a $6.5 million cap hit and carries a modified no-trade clause through which he can nix 10 locales.

Cap-related info via CapFriendly