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Erik Karlsson

Erik Karlsson officially signs extension with the Sharks

12:42PM: The Sharks have confirmed Karlsson’s eight-year extension worth a total of $92 million. (Cap Friendly)

His cap hit will be $11.5 million and he has a full no-move clause. (Cap Friendly)

9:48AM: Bob McKenzie tweets that “all signs” are pointing towards Erik Karlsson signing an extension with the San Jose Sharks.

Karlsson has long been linked to the Rangers as a possible free agent addition.

Elliotte Friedman wrote over the weekend that the Sharks are believed to have offered Karlsson a deal “that will challenge” the eight-year, $88 million dollar contract that Drew Doughty signed last year. (Sportsnet)

Karlssons cap hit is expected to come in around $11.5 million per season, according to McKenzie.

Adam Rotter: The thing with Karlsson was trying to figure out how much interest the Rangers had in him compared to how much interest Karlsson had in the Rangers. Most around the league believed that the Rangers were one of 3-4 teams Karlsson was likely to be interested in, San Jose, Tampa and maybe Detroit as others, with Henrik Lundqvist, Mika Zibanejad and NY being a short flight from his wife’s family in Ottawa, as main reasons why. The Rangers are believed to have had a good amount of interest in Karlsson but not at seven-years and $11 million plus. The Rangers need and want to improve their defense and Karlsson would have done that but, at his age and with his recent injury history, the Rangers would have been taking on a big risk at a crucial stage of the rebuild. Had Karlsson come to the Rangers and said they were his only choice then something likely could have gotten done but it would have seen him leave a lot of years and money on the table. Now he stays in San Jose and will help them try to finally get over the hill and win the Stanley Cup.

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The expectation that the Rangers are going to be active this summer

6/1/19 | On the 5/31 Bobcast, Bob McKenzie was looking at Kevin Shattenkirk ranked #9 on TSN’s trade bait board and said, “I could see them trying to move that salary. They could be interested in trading for Trouba, I’m sure. They’ll be interested in Erik Karlsson if he goes to unrestricted free agency. Consider the Rangers a player in just about everything, as always.”

5/6/19 | Elliotte Friedman wrote this week that the Rangers are expected to be “active” this summer with some GMs saying “watch out for them.” (Sportsnet)

Friedman said on the 31 Thoughts Podcast this week, “I think this is going to be a really interesting summer for them. I think they want this rebuild to start coming to an end and to start playing some games that matter. I think they will be really busy this summer, they have a ton of picks, cap room but with a lot of the big markets out of the playoffs the cap may not go up as much as everybody thought. The Rangers are going to have room and if you are going to need to trade players they are going to want good players and be out there. The other thing is that I have heard their name as an offer sheet possibility.”

He added, “people say that the Rangers are going to use all of their muscle this year to get better.”

Pierre LeBrun wrote in The Athletic this week about Erik Karlsson and said that the Rangers would be an “obvious” fit for Karlsson because of their cap space, desire to step up the rebuild and his relationship with Henrik Lundqvist.

In March, Friedman said of the Rangers and Karlsson, “I wonder about the Rangers are Karlsson, how interested they are going to be. I could see him loving playing there.” (Sportsnet)

The Rangers, as of now, have two first-round picks and two second-round picks in the 2019 Draft.

The Rangers are expected to have between $18 million and $23 million in cap space depending on what the upper-limit is.

Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, Tony DeAngelo, Neal Pionk and Freddy Claesson are all RFAs this summer.

Players like Artemi Panarin (UFA) and Jacob Trouba (Trade) have been mentioned previously as potential targets for the Rangers.

The Rangers have already added Adam Fox, Vitali Kravtsov and Igor Shesterkin and are expected to add either Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko with the second overall pick in June’s draft.

Adam Rotter: After being somewhat quiet last summer expect the Rangers to be connected with pretty much every player talked about this summer. They have the cap space and needs that free agents would fill and the draft picks, prospects and some roster players needed for “hockey trades” that would bring youngish NHLers to the Rangers. They are frequently going to be mentioned as one of the teams to watch this offseason and until players sign new contracts or teams get out of cap trouble the Rangers will be mentioned with every RFA, UFA and trade candidate.

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The connections of Erik Karlsson and the Rangers

5/23/19 | 2:23PM: On the 31 Thoughts Podcast from 5/23, Elliotte Friedman said, “I’ve heard mixed things about the Rangers, at times I’ve heard yes and at times I’ve heard no. It’s his call, he is a UFA and gets to make the choice. I just really believe that if it’s up to him he will try to find a way to play in Tampa.”  (Sportsnet)

Karlsson said on Thursday that he likes the San Jose area and Sharks organization but “hasn’t really thought” about what is next. (Kevin Kurz)

5/20/19 | In an interview in Sweden, Henrik Lundqvist noted that there have been rumors about Erik Karlsson, “and other players,” potentially coming to the Rangers this offseason and seaid “we’ll see what happens.” (Expressen)

He said that a player like Karlsson would mean a “great deal” to any team and added that this is an “important” summer for the Rangers with their cap space and desire to get better. (Expressen)

On Calgary radio last Thursday, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet said the following about Karlsson:

“I think Erik Karlsson is going to be this years John Tavares. I think he will be setting up camp, his agents are based outside of Toronto at Newport Sports and taking a few suitors and getting wooed and seeing what is out there. I think he is going to leverage the market and really make a life decision for himself. I’d be surprised if he is back in San Jose, and I think it’s been tough on his family being there and I just think he will take this moment in time as a rather large name still in the prime of his career, yes with some injury questions but when you look at someone who has won a couple of Norris Trophies and should have some good years left, I would think that he will go through a wooing process. I know that back when the All-Star game was in San Jose that he had dinner with Henrik Lundqvist and Lundqvist was low-key selling him on a marriage to the Rangers. I think Erik is really going to look around and test the market and it will be a surprise to me if he signs an extension before June 23rd when he is officially able to start talking to other teams.”

The host then mentioned the Rangers as possibly being the leader for Karlsson and Johnston replied, “they would be a favorite along with Tampa. Tampa would require some pretty serious surgery to the roster but there has been a long song and dance between the Lightning and Karlsson and he and Victor Hedman are very close and that is an organization that I would see being very bold. The Rangers are probably the most likely destination since they have money to spend and they are at a point where they have a ton of draft picks piling up and the time is probably right for them to scale up and I could see a fit there for him but don’t overlook the Lightning if they make moves to clear cap space.”

Karlsson is ranked 2nd in Craig Custance’s list of the Top 20 Free Agents this summer and writes that Karlsson likes it in San Jose and that while there have been contracts talks there hasn’t been anything “too specific.” (The Athletic)

Adam Rotter: The Rangers are going to be linked to Erik Karlsson in every discussion until Karlsson signs somewhere. He’s good friends with Henrik Lundqvist, they need to upgrade on defense and, especially with their cap space, the Rangers are going to be linked to pretty much everyone. I’m sure the Rangers are interested in Karlsson the way they would be interested in any and every player of that caliber. Karlsson is an elite defenseman that would give them their best player back there, especially offensively, since Brian Leetch. But the Rangers thought that would be the case with Dan Boyle and that didn’t work and Kevin Shattenkirk has not met expectations halfway through his contract. Injuries are the biggest red flag with Karlsson and it’s hard to see the Rangers, with their desire to be flexible and all the young players they have, giving him his best offer. I don’t think it can be ruled out though and if Karlsson wants to be a Ranger it’s likely they do what they can to make it work.

Making it work though is more than just getting Karlsson signed an a number that works for both sides. If the Rangers add Karlsson they need to make other moves on defense which would likely include Kevin Shattenkirk being moved in some way and probably Brendan Smith as well. I think Marc Staal is safe but to add Karlsson the Rangers need to free up spots on defense and still leave some open for young players. There is an expectation that Tampa will go after him, and possibly use JT Miller, and others, as part of a package to clear cap space and that Detroit could make a big play as well.

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How an increase in the cap to $83 million would impact the Rangers

At a press conference earlier today, Gary Bettman announced that the salary cap for next season is expected to be around $83 million. (Dreger)

As of now the Rangers have $59.6 million in cap space committed for next season and a salary cap of $83 million would leave the Rangers with around $23 million in cap space.

Following this season the Rangers will have Pavel Buchnevich, Neal Pionk, Tony DeAngelo, Freddy Claesson, Steven Fogarty, Vinni Lettieri and a few other prospects as RFAs.

Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Dustin Tokarski, Adam McQuaid and Cody McLeod are all slated to be UFAs.

Potential UFAs from around the NHL include Artemi Panarin, Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle and Jeff Skinner.

Adam Rotter: Panarin is the big fish this summer and the Rangers have more than enough space to pay him, even if it’s between $9 million and $10 million. Same would go for Stone or any of the other forwards. Karlsson would be possible too, but at this moment he seems like more of a long-shot.

The RFAs in Buchnevich, Pionk and probably DeAngelo would likely, at the highest level, be around $8 million. The biggest question about the cap for next season is whether Kevin Hayes will be part of it. I think it’s 50/50 at this point but, with how he’s played under David Quinn, a greater chance that he stays than I thought prior to the season. No-trade protection is likely to be a sticking point with Hayes as he looks for stability while the Rangers look to remain flexible. Unless he’s determined to stay with the Rangers, and take a short-term deal and probably a pay cut, it seems likely that Zuccarello will be somewhere else next year.