Erik Karlsson: Will Bryan Murray break the bank?

By Matthew Kirkpatrick

Erik Karlsson had a breakout season at precisely the right time where his bank account is concerned as he became the first defenseman to finish in the top ten in NHL scoring during the last year of his entry level contract.

Karlsson has been nominated, and is the odds on favourite to take home the Norris Trophy as the leagues top defenseman when the league hands out it’s awards later this month.

All of this is great news for the Ottawa Senators as they continue their youth movement, but it could create a problem for their salary structure moving forward if Erik Karlsson decides to try to hit a grand slam where his salary is concerned.

It’s not like Ottawa doesn’t have the cap room, they currently have $37 million committed to 15 players next season, but with a new CBA on the horizon Bryan Murray is taking a wait and see approach with his pending RFA superstar.

It has been suggested the league may adopt a salary structure like that of the NBA with maximum salaries placed on players based on their years of service.

With that in mind most general managers want to wait it out to see what rules they are going to be playing under prior to committing a huge multi-year deal to a player when they don’t have to.

Murray also wants to avoid a situation like the Los Angeles Kings had with Drew Doughty last year when their number one defender skipped training camp in an effort to get more money.

Eventually the Kings gave in, and inked Doughty to a new 8 year $56 million deal.

As long as the Senators can keep negotiations cordial it is thought that Erik Karlsson can be had for a similar number, but anything more could hamstring the franchise in the coming years, and limit their ability to hold on to key players or add them through free agency.

Ottawa can ill afford another one of it’s players getting into a spat with the club over money.

It has happened one too many times over the history of the franchise already.

I believe Erik Karlsson will sign a 3-5 year deal for between $6-7.5 million per season, and wait to see what the state of the team is after that deal expires before committing to the Senators for the bulk of his career.






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