The Montreal Canadiens remain on the lookout for a top right-shot defenceman, and NHL analyst Mike Johnson suggests they can fill that need via a blockbuster move with the San Jose Sharks.
In a recent segment on TSN.ca, Johnson goes into detail on how Erik Karlsson’s deal might be too much for a team to take on in one shot; and he’s not wrong.
At $11.5M for another four years, the 32-year-old would be a heavy burden to take on anyone’s salary structure, but Johnson believes there’s a way for the Canadiens and the Sharks to find some common ground by sacrificing a higher value contract in the process to even the salary structure.
“I think it might be a team where, can you spot a contract that you want to move from or want to unload, I think of Montreal,” suggested Johnso. “Brendan Gallagher has had a great run in Montreal but he has 4 more years at $5-$6M, can you trade a guy like that who still has value, but term matches up on the contract, you’re really going to add just $3-$4M to your payroll instead of the full 11.5, those are the types of deals, those are the types of teams that could possibly look at it.”
Gallagher’s actual salary is $6.5M for another four seasons after this one, meaning the difference would be $5M in actual salary. Should the Sharks retain a small amount, say $2M, then it would be more than palatable on the Canadiens’ salary structure moving forward; especially with talks of the salary cap increasing by up to $4M this summer, according to Gary Bettman.
That being said, this is a trade that would have a lot of ifs.
Erik Karlsson would want to move to Montreal, as he has a full No-Movement clause in his contract, while Gallagher has a 6-team No-Trade clause in his contract; so some massaging would need to occur for such a deal to go down.
That being said, Karlsson at a discount could be exactly the type of move the Canadiens could jump on to acquire an experienced top-pair defenceman to help shepherd the young defence.
However, for the purposes of this season, such a trade would likely have to go to the summer, as the Canadiens don’t necessarily want Karlsson to come in and help them contend this season; but more likely next season; as they continue to grow their team out for the future.