Erik Karlsson's time with the Ottawa Senators could be near an end, but former captain Daniel Alfredsson hopes that is not the case.
"No question he is a generational talent and the best player to ever wear the Senators jersey," Alfredsson told TSN on Tuesday at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, where Karlsson watched him play in the Alexander of Tunis tournament. "I know for me personally I hope he stays, both as a friend, and being able to watch him on the ice, especially going into his prime."
Alfredsson is the Senators leader in goals (426), assists (682) and points (1,108), and was their captain from 1999-2013.
Karlsson, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, has permission from the Senators to talk to other teams about a contract extension, Sportsnet reported Monday. The Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals are believed to have spoken with the Senators about the 28-year-old defenseman, the Ottawa Sun reported Tuesday.
The Senators offered Karlsson a contract extension Sunday but it is unknown if he wants to remain there. If Karlsson reaches an understanding with another team, Ottawa would have to work out an acceptable trade with that team, Sportsnet said.
Terms of the Senators' contract offer were not disclosed.
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty signed an eight-year, $88 million contract extension Sunday to possibly set the market for Karlsson.
"I think it's a difficult situation for everybody," said Alfredsson, who left his position in the Senators front office last July 1. "You can't always control what happens, and as player, your job is to focus on what you can do to contribute to the on-ice product, no matter what it is. [You're] not involved in decisions regarding personnel, your focus is working really hard in the summer, coming into great shape and then performing, no matter what the situation is."
Karlsson had 62 points (nine goals, 53 assists) in 71 games for the Senators last season. He has led Ottawa in points, or finished tied for the lead, each of the past five seasons.
Alfredsson, who said he talks to Karlsson daily, said he has no idea how the situation is going to be resolved.
"To be honest, I don't know what to think at this moment, what could happen," he said. "I'm sure he'll call me if something happens."
Karlsson had surgery on his left foot before last season.
The captain of the Senators since 2014, Karlsson is a two-time Norris Trophy winner (2012, 2015) and finished second in 2016 and 2017. He's been voted to the NHL First All-Star Team four times (2012, 2015-17).
The Senators (25-45-12) finished 15th in the Eastern Conference last season, 30 points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one season after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Selected by the Senators in the first round (No. 15) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Karlsson has 518 points (126 goals, 392 assists) in 627 regular-season games and 37 points (six goals, 31 assists) in 48 games in the playoffs.