As the conversation turned to Erik Karlsson — Ottawa’s high-scoring, Norris-nominated defenseman — Melnyk made it clear he wasn’t going to break the bank for the impending RFA.
“From our perspective everyone has to be reasonable,” he said. “All we can offer is opportunity, and that is to be part of a great organization with a shot. If you want to be part of that, our doors are open.
“We can pay you, but it has to be within a reasonable budget.”
Ottawa’s idea of “reasonable” might differ from Karlsson’s. It’s fair to think that, coming off a 78-point campaign and a Norris nomination, the 21-year-old Swede could be looking for money comparable to Drew Doughty ($7 million annually) or Tyler Myers ($5.5 million). Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen figures Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray will need to “open the vault to re-sign Karlsson,” possibly to the tune of $6 million per season.
But is Ottawa willing to do that? The team operated at nearly $13 million under the cap this season and, in addition to Karlsson, has a number of free agents to deal with: RFAs Nick Foligno, Peter Regin, Jim O’Brien, Kaspars Daugavins and UFAs Jesse Winchester, Zenon Konopka, Filip Kuba, Matt Gilroy and Matt Carkner.
Melnyk told reporters the same thing Murray said in his exit interview — he’s not worried about negotiations and figures they’ll get a deal with Karlsson done.
Which begs the question: Does Karlsson think the same?
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day