NHL Rumors: Karlsson, Hanifin request trades, Meier back with Devils

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are over, with the Vegas Golden Knights having been crowned Stanley Cup Champions for the first time in (brief) franchise history.

It means it’s officially the NHL offseason. The free agency frenzy isn’t until July 1st, but that won’t stop the rumors from flying around the hockey world. If this past week taught us anything, the trade market is the best place to look for defensemen. Let’s delve into the latest NHL rumors.

Erik Karlsson wants out of San Jose

Yes, this time, we mean it. This time the Erik Karlsson rumors aren’t trade bait.

It’s real, and the time has come to pounce on the star defenseman.

The San Jose Sharks and the Swedish native are finally on the same page.

After his representatives met with management last week, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday on “Insider Trading” Karlsson wants out.

He hopes he’s played his last game as a San Jose Shark. It’s time one of the greatest blueliners of his era gets another shot at an elusive Stanley Cup. Will this be an easy deal? Not at all.

The Sharks have all the leverage. They have the player contenders want. They have him locked up long-term. The ball is in their court, and they won’t rush to pull the trigger. But when they do, they’ve ensured Karlsson that it’ll be with a team with a legitimate chance of winning the Stanley Cup within the next few seasons. It’s the least they can do for the guy who was why the hockey world paid attention to the Sharks this year.

Either way, Karlsson has a no-trade clause. He likely has a short list of contenders he’s willing to be traded to. All eyes turn to first-year GM Mike Grier, who will be the ultimate decider.

In the coming weeks, Karlsson will officially collect his third Norris Trophy. After enduring several injury-plagued campaigns, the 33-year-old scored 25 goals and had 101 points for San Jose. He also showed he could stay healthy, playing in all 82 regular season games for the first time since the 2015-2016 season.

He became the oldest defenseman to eclipse the 100-point plateau in a season. He was the sixth to accomplish the feat and the first since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

This wouldn’t be the first time Karlsson and his hefty contract would be moved.

The former Ottawa Senators captain has four years left on his contract with an $11.5-million cap hit, per CapFriendly.

Karlsson signed his eight-year, $92 million deal with the Sharks on June 17, 2019. It came after they acquired him from Ottawa as a $6.5 million rental in September of 2018.  If this is the end, Karlsson finishes his San Jose tenure, having appeared in 293 games with 52 goals and 243 points.

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