It’s been almost a month since Kyle Dubus came so close to getting Eric Carlson in the NHL Draft, so many speculated that a trade would have already taken place.
Naturally, impatience quickly sets in when the prospect of a large-scale deal becomes public. For news-hungry fans, especially those who rightfully see the Carlson trade as dictating the final years of the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby era, reality can seem irrelevant.
Carlson, the three-time Norris Trophy winner and current defenseman, emerged as an unlikely target for Dubus shortly after he became Pittsburgh’s head of hockey operations. Mr. Dubus also confirmed the same earlier this month. In doing so, he did not deny himself to continue pursuing Carlson.
As far as we can tell, Dubus has done just that.
So what’s the holdup?
There are several reasons why Carlson would stay with the Sharks. Perhaps the Sharks are willing to trade Carlson this summer, or Carlson’s desire to play with a particular suitor. Also, with August approaching when hockey operators are on vacation, the deal could be delayed.
None of this suggests that Carlson’s hot stove has cooled. However, it may have calmed down, albeit temporarily, while parties on all sides searched for the next step.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use your phone. They did, and here’s what we hear a few weeks later on the Carlsson Front:
• The Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes remain Carlson’s main suitors. Clubs have been given permission to speak directly to Carlson, and the Penguins have had several people speak to Carlson in recent weeks, including selected players other than Duvas. Based on these talks, several officials within the organization believe Carlson wants a trade to the Penguins.
• During an interview with Pittsburgh, Dubus identified Carlson as part of an original plan discussed with Fenway Sports Group.
– Captain Sidney Crosby and top defenseman Chris Letang backed Carlson’s acquisition. Letang remains the Penguins’ number one defenseman and will likely be a top duo. He is willing to change his role in the top power-play unit so that Carlsson can serve as quarterback.
• Duvas and his staff are working on several scenarios to get Carlson on the roster and comply with Cap. One scenario involves dealing directly with the Sharks. Another is to include a third team with cap space. A deal could also be made that would involve buying a current roster player (probably forward Mikael Granlund, but not necessarily) to make Cap’s calculations work.
Duvas expected forward Drew O’Connor to be selected for arbitration. A second buyout period triggered by O’Connor’s decision gave Duvas a window to adjust his contract with the Sharks. (Read this story for how the second acquisition period works.)
• During a meeting with defenseman Jeff Petrie in Detroit in June, Duvas was clear about all possibilities, including a possible trade. Petrie, whose family lives in Michigan, is understood to be less than willing to play somewhere as far away as San Jose, which is one reason the Penguins sought to include a third team in Carlson’s contract. Petrie’s contract has a revised no-trade clause, meaning he has a list of 15 teams he can’t trade.
• The Sharks are interested in Marcus Petterson as part of a deal with the Penguins. However, Duvas has resisted including Peterson in the offer so far. Coach Mike Sullivan and his staff have envisioned Peterson and free agent Ryan Graves as top four left wing defenders next season.
• Duvas prefers at least top-five protects in first-round draft picks, and accepts conditions such as home ice advantage and postseason series wins for lower-round picks in his deal with Carlson.
The Penguins operate as if the Sharks keep a portion of Carlson’s cap hit ($11.5 million). The exact amount will depend on other assets the Sharks receive from the Penguins and/or Third Club.
(Photo by Eric Carlson: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)