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Karlsson offered contract extension by Senators

Defenseman can become unrestricted free agent after this season

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

Erik Karlsson has been offered a contract extension by the Ottawa Senators.

The 28-year-old defenseman has one season remaining on a seven-year contract he signed June 19, 2012, and can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

"We don't really want to talk about roster players, contract negotiations, trades, all these things, but I think we owe it to our fans and we made a promise at the town hall that we would make a contract offer to Erik Karlsson and we've done so," Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Sunday.

Terms of the offer were not disclosed. Asked about Karlsson's reaction to the offer, Dorion said, "We're not going there."

After Karlsson remained on the Senators following the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 26, Dorion said Ottawa would offer him a contract.

"I think Erik wants to be a Senator for life," Dorion said then. "I don't want to speak for him, I'll let him speak for himself. We'll see what the next few months bring, but if Erik Karlsson is here on July 1, we will be making him a contract offer."

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.

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).

Video: NYI@OTT: Karlsson pots Duchene's nice feed

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.

"We feel very confident that we're headed in the right direction," Dorion said Sunday. "Obviously, we don't like to brand things here, but we will have a younger team, and watching development camp, there's quite a few players that have impressed us and we know that they're fighting for spots in the upcoming season.

"One of the steps in that was when we bought out (forward) [Alexandre] Burrows, so we feel there's going to be change to our roster when October comes around, and there's going to be good healthy battles, and we have a lot of good, young prospects that can take those spots. It's not going to be a team full of young players, but I think if you find a mix of the good veterans we have here and the good young prospects, I think it will be a really young, competitive, faster team this year."

Dorion previously said there were problems in the locker room last season, leading to Ottawa trading forward Mike Hoffman on June 19. Ottawa traded Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who about two hours later traded the 28-year-old to the Florida Panthers.

The Senators traded Hoffman a week after the Ottawa Citizen reported that Karlsson's wife, Melinda, filed an application for a peace bond against Hoffman's fiancee, Monika Caryk, alleging harassment and cyberbullying that occurred this season and continued after the Karlssons' son, Axel, was stillborn. Hoffman has denied the allegations.

"Trading Mike Hoffman was something that we needed to do," Dorion said then. "Our dressing room was broken. We have to have a dressing room that wants to win together."

Selected by Ottawa in the first round (No. 15) in 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 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NHL.com correspondent Callum Fraser contributed to this report

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