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New York Islanders: What Would It Take To Land Erik Karlsson

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators waits for a puck drop against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 10, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Senators 6-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators waits for a puck drop against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 10, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Senators 6-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Erik Karlsson is on the trading block after an awful scandal in Ottawa. What would it take for the New York Islanders to acquire Karlsson?

The New York Islanders are lucky because they’re loaded with picks in the first two rounds. Lou Lamoriello has a lot he can work with in retooling this team. Maybe, he’ll take a shot at the best defender on the trade market.

Erik Karlsson requested a trade after it got out that he and his wife were harassed by Mike Hoffman’s girlfriend. It’s really an awful story and I don’t want to get too into the details but if you think you can stomach it, it’s hyperlinked in the last sentence.

Karlsson is one of the best defenders in the entire league. He’s put up over 60 points in each of the last five years and scored 20 goals in a season twice in his career which is pretty impressive for a defenseman.

It would cost a fortune to acquire someone like Karlsson, but with the resources, the Islanders have it would certainly be possible. What if the Islanders did something like this:

The first round pick is obvious. When someone at this caliber is rumored to be on the move the conversation always starts with a first-round pick. After that is where things get a little dicey. Anders Lee has 74 goals and 114 points over the last two years. He’s no slouch either.

Lee, like Karlsson, is entering the final year of a deal and is due $3.75 million in 2018-2019. Karlsson is making $6.5 million so Ottawa is saving a good chunk against the cap. Devon Toews is in the mix as well so that the Sens can get a defenseman who is young, ready for the NHL, and controllable for the foreseeable future.

I like both Lee and Toews a lot, they could be factors for the team next year but when you have a chance at a generational talent on the blue line you have to at least think about it. Here’s what the lines could look like with cap numbers (italics means projected extension or UFA signing):

Bellows ($925,000) – Tavares ($11 million) – Bailey ($5 million)

Beauvillier ($894,167) – Barzal ($863,333) – Eberle ($6 million)

Ladd ($5.5 million) – Cizikas ($3.35 million) – Ho-Sang ($863,333)

Johnston ($1 million)Letestu ($2.25 million) – Clutterbuck ($3.5 million)

Leddy ($5.5 million) – Karlsson ($6.5 million)

Pelech ($1.6 million) – Pulock ($4 million)

Aho ($770,000) – Boychuk ($6 million)

Grubauer ($4 million)

Greiss ($3.3 million)

Total: $72.85 million

Under these circumstances, the Islanders still fit under the cap as it currently sits at $75 million, and they can fill out their roster with a few more depth guys. When you consider the cap is supposed to go up to $78-$82 million it shows you have plenty to work with if you’re the Islanders.

It’s not going to be easy to acquire Karlsson but if your team is looking like this heading into 2018-2019 I think you have to feel pretty darn good about yourself. You have three legit superstars in Tavares, Karlsson, and Barzal and potentially eight guys who can hit over 50 points on the season. That’s insane.

Next: Possible 3rd Line Options

This doesn’t look like a bubble team. This looks like a team that is ready to compete for a championship in 2018, which should be the goal. Buckle up this next week is going to be exciting times in Islanders land.

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