Feb 13, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) is helped off the ice after being injured during the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Erik Karlsson Injury Creates Opportunity for New Jersey Devils

The most significant news to come out of the NHL this week is the gruesome injury to Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. Karlsson was helped off the ice after his Achilles tendon was sliced by the skate of Pittsburgh winger Matt Cooke. The debate rages on regarding the intent of the injury; that debate continues somewhere else….I recommend SenShot.

But in the wake of this injury, which comes less than three weeks after star center Jason Spezza went down with a similarly threatening injury, the Senators are looking at two very large holes to fill. They are likely not going to give up and go home, so the trade market for centers and defensemen has a new best friend in Ottawa.

The trade market has been synonymous with the Devils over the last two weeks, after New Jersey traded their 2013 5th and 7th round draft choices, as well as a 4th round choice in 2014 for forwards Andrei Loktionov and Alexei Ponikarovsky. The Devils have one of the more successful wingers in their run to last year’s Cup Finals back, as well as some needed depth, but it comes at the expense of future prospects as well as less face time at the 2013 NHL Draft this summer at Prudential Center. While I refuse to assert that Lamoriello and the Devils organization are the type to worry about media coverage, I’m sure Jeff Vanderbeek would love to see the Devils logo leave its mark on the Draft.

The Devils have three defensemen I’d like to highlight: Anton Volchenkov, Mark Fayne and Henrik Tallinder. These are three valuable pieces to any organization, but specifically Ottawa, for different reasons. Volchenkov and Tallinder, acquired together in 2010, can bring a great amount of veteran leadership to Ottawa in Karlsson’s absence.

Volchenkov came from Ottawa and still has many fans there, something that may cloud his recent drop in play and massive contract. He has not become a has-been; he is still a starting NHL defenseman, and probably worth a mid-round draft pick. Tallinder has bounced in and out of the lineup with the Devils recently, and would surely appreciate a chance to get some more ice time in Ottawa. He, like Volchenkov, is a solid starting NHL defenseman and a smaller, yet still significant remaining contract which would likely earn him similar value: a mid-level draft pick.

Fayne is an outlier in this situation: he is a young defenseman that has proven himself, and could probably earn a great deal in a trade. I cannot imagine the Devils wanting to give up Fayne for anything less than a 2nd round pick, but Ottawa may be willing, depending on the rest of the trade market.

I don’t believe the Devils have any greater target than a draft choice; they have defensive depth in the minor leagues (young players like Matthew Corrente and Alexander Urbom are worthy of an extra defenseman’s role) and would surely like to recoup and possibly gain value in the draft rounds they gave up in trades this season.

Devils fans: Do you think Lou should give the Senators a call? Fellow NHL fans: Do you believe your team could be a trade partner for Ottawa?

Tags: Anton Volchenkov Devils Erik Karlsson Henrik Tallinder Jason Spezza Mark Fayne Ottawa Senators

  • Bill

    I’m hoping the devils can get a little more than a 4th rounder for Tallinder or Volchenkov. I mean, we just acquired an unproven prospect, who has expressed a desire to go back to his home country of Russia and who has shown a lack of versatility for the lineup (he will apparently only be willing to play center and is “uncomfortable” at wing) for the same price tag. Tallinder is a former captain of the Sabres and, although he seems to have lost a step still knows how to move the puck. Volchenkov I get because his contract IS bonkers when analyzing his skill set but without him I feel the Devils somewhat lack an imposing force at the blue line (Greene, Larsson, Fayne, Harrold, Zidlicky are all relatively small and not very physical and Urbom is unproven at the next level).

    I don’t think it’s wise to move Fayne. He has proven to be pretty solid and will only get better. However I agree that the Devils need to re-up their draft picks especially with the draft coming to The Rock this year — if they don’t no one will show up to boo Commissioner Voldemort.

    Does anyone know if Lou traditionally trades players for picks? I am somewhat new to “hardcore fandome” but it seems like (at least this year) he is the kind of guy to trade away picks for players that can help the team now. With our age as a team I am a little worried about the future.