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Karlsson attends Senators golf tournament

Defenseman, subject of trade rumors, does not speak to media

by Mike Battaglino / Staff Writer

Erik Karlsson attended the Ottawa Senators' annual pre-camp golf tournament on Wednesday, but the defenseman who is the subject of trade rumors did not speak to reporters.

Karlsson arrived at Canadian Tire Centre around noon on Thursday for Senators physicals and was expected to address the media. The Senators start training camp Friday. Karlsson took part in an informal skate with teammates Tuesday.

The Senators offered Karlsson a contract extension July 1, the first day they could do so, but he would not re-sign with them. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars each reportedly made trade offers to Ottawa in early July.

Karlsson had 62 points (nine goals, 53 assists) in 71 games for the Senators last season. He led Ottawa in points, or tied for the lead, each of the past five seasons.

The Senators (28-43-11) 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.

Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk, in an open letter to fans published Monday, introduced the concept of a multiyear rebuilding plan to improve on and off the ice. It did not address the possibility of trading or re-signing Karlsson.

Goalie Craig Anderson told CBC he doesn't think Karlsson's future will be a distraction.

"We only concern ourselves with things we can control," he said.

Center Matt Duchene, who also became eligible to sign a contract extension July 1, said the Senators have a more optimistic outlook about the season than observers do.

"You know, this was a team that came in last year and was expected to do big things," Duchene said. "Obviously, expectations are low from the outside. But we want to have a bounce-back year, and we believe in our group."

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