With the NHL regular season coming to an end, one of the biggest disappointments has to be the Ottawa Senators. The Senators were a goal away from a Stanley Cup Final appearance last season and now they sit second to last in the entire NHL with 65 points. Many questions surround the team, such as how General Manager Pierre Dorion plans to fix the Senators and if Eugene Melnyk will let him spend the money to do so. The biggest question however is: Has Erik Karlsson played his last game as a Ottawa Senator?
Erik Karlsson Has Potentially Played his Last Home Game as an Ottawa Senator
In the final home game of the season, the Senators were defeated by the Winnipeg Jets 6-5. Erik Karlsson had three assists in the game, but it wasn’t his game play that has fans buzzing today. It was his actions after the game that has every hockey fan wondering if we have seen Karlsson play his last game in a Senators uniform.
After the game, Karlsson skated down and retrieved the game puck from the net and tucked it into his pants. What would Karlsson possibly want with the game puck from such a disastrous season? No milestones were hit by teammates or the team. The only significance that puck has is to Karlsson himself.
Erik Karlsson grabs the puck and sneakily tucks it in his pants after the final Ottawa home game of the season pic.twitter.com/a94YgraL6B
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) April 3, 2018
When questioned about why he took the puck, Karlsson was quick with his response. He said “I was down there and I saw it was in the net, so I just picked it up and decided to keep it.” He followed that by answering a question about this possibly being his last game. He replied, “I haven’t thought about it, until now. I’m a social guy. I read a lot of things and I’m not reading too much into it, but obviously the word is out there. It’s not something I’ve thought about going into this game and it’s not something I’m going to think about for a while.”
Adding fuel to the fire, Karlsson didn’t travel with the team to play the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. Coach Guy Boucher said he would leave it up the Karlsson to decide if he wanted to play in the final three games of the season.
Reasons to Believe the Speculation
As if taking a souvenir puck from the last home game wasn’t enough, there has been a few other events that transpired over the season that add to the speculation. In November, Karlsson stated he would not be taking a hometown discount on his next contract. In December, Melnyk said sales and revenue would determine the team’s payroll. If the Senators sales were down, he would not be allowing Dorion to spend to the cap. Dorion then asked Karlsson to submit his no trade list. All but solidifying there was a potential move on the horizon.
As Senators fans wait for the story to unfold, they can’t help but feel like they’ve seen this before. After getting eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, former Captain Daniel Alfredsson pulled the same stunt. Alfredsson downplayed the move, saying he had a lot of kids at home and took it for one of them. Not weeks later, Alfredsson left the team, and eventually signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. Now, five years later, albeit under different circumstances, Sens fans may be watching yet another Swedish captain leave the team.
It’s a story that hockey fans all around the world will be talking about from now until the draft. For now, Erik Karlsson is an Ottawa Senator. Come June, it might be a different story.
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