Karlsson wants 'what I'm worth' in next contract: report
Senators captain can be unrestricted free agent after 2018-19 seasonNHL.com @NHLdotcom
Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, said he will not entertain a hometown discount when it comes time to negotiate his next contract, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
Karlsson, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2019, spoke about his contract situation Thursday after practice in New York.
"When I go to market, I'm going to get what I'm worth, and it's going to be no less, no matter where I'm going," the 27-year-old said.
Karlsson is in the sixth season of a seven-year contract worth $45.5 million, an average annual value of $6.5 million. He and the Senators can begin to negotiate a new contract July 1, 2018.
If Karlsson doesn't sign a contract before the 2018-19 season, concerns that he could leave as an unrestricted free agent could cause the Senators to entertain the idea of trading him instead of losing him for nothing.
Video: VGK@OTT: Karlsson snaps a wrister into the net
The Senators traded center Kyle Turris, who was in the final season of his contract and could have become an unrestricted free agent, as part of a three-team deal with the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 5 that brought forward Matt Duchene to the Senators from the Avalanche and sent Turris to the Predators. Turris signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Predators ($6 million AAV).
Karlsson could earn more than $10 million per season in a long-term contract. Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens is the highest-paid defenseman in the NHL at $12 million in salary and signing bonuses this season, the sixth of the 14-year contract he signed with the Predators in 2012, according to CapFriendly.com. However, his salary cap charge is $7,857,143. Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, who will make $11 million this season, has a $9 million salary cap charge, the highest for the position.
Karlsson said he is not looking to change teams but that he wants fair-market value for his skills.
"I like it here, I'm comfortable here, I've been here my whole career," said Karlsson, who was taken by the Senators in the first round (No. 15) of the 2008 NHL Draft. "It's something that I invested all my time in and something I would like to see all the way through. But at the end of the day, when it comes down to it, if it's not the right fit and it's not going to work out business-wise, then you're going to have to look elsewhere because that's what [owners] are going to do, as well."
The Senators play the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET, MSG, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV). Ottawa has lost seven consecutive games (0-6-1), and Karlsson does not have a point during that stretch. It's his longest drought since 2009-10, his rookie season in the NHL.
Karlsson had offseason surgery that involved the insertion of an artificial tendon into his left foot and has 17 points (one goal, 16 assists) in 18 games. During the 2016-17 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Karlsson helped Ottawa reach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 19 games and played an average of 28:07 per game.
"It doesn't feel as good as it did before and it's never going to, probably," Karlsson said of his foot. "It's going to be a while [before it's comfortable], but it is what it is. I have to find a way to make it feel as good as possible as often as possible and probably get rid of some of the bad days that are going to happen."