Ottawa Senators: Comparables for Karlsson’s Next Contract

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 25: Erik Karlsson
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 25: Erik Karlsson /

Erik Karlsson’s contract is up in just two seasons which means the Ottawa Senators will face the difficult task of re-signing him.

Contract negotiation can be very different depending on the quality of player, whether they’re an RFA or UFA, as well as a variety of other factors. However, when it comes to the best players in the league, the player holds the vast majority of the bargaining chips. This will be the case when it comes time to re-sign Erik Karlsson. Making just 6.5 million annually, Karlsson will be in for quite the raise in two years.

Contract Negotiation

When negotiating a contract one of the things used to determine salary is looking at players of equal caliber and seeing what they make. Karlsson is a player with very few comparables throughout the league. There isn’t a defenceman who can come close to his impact at both ends of the ice. This spring Karlsson has emerged as one of the top three players in the league. The general consensus following the playoffs this year is the only players superior to him are Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid. Crosby signed his contract in 2012 before the lockout and now the structure of his contract is no longer legal. As a result Karlsson has one comparable, Connor McDavid. Signing his extension on the 5th this month his contract will be used to determine Karlsson’s value.

Karlsson vs McDavid

Let’s get this out of the way, Karlsson, is not McDavid. They play different positions and McDavid is seven years younger. However, he’s the closest comparison in terms of overall skill and value to their team. McDavid signed for eight years at an average annual value of 12.5 million dollars. Karlsson may not command this much but will very likely get over eleven or even twelve. The one thing that could inflate Karlsson’s contract to McDavid proportions is that he will be a UFA. If he were to reach the open market he would one hundred percent become the highest paid player in the league. As a result Karlsson may use this to get paid a little bit more in Ottawa.

Incentive to Stay

Karlsson does have an incentive to stay with the Ottawa Senators because he can sign for one extra year if he stays with the Sens. A UFA can sign for a maximum of seven years if they leave their previous team, but can sign for eight with their current team. This will be a strong incentive for Karlsson to stay with Ottawa. That and the fact that the Sens appear to be on the upswing.

Next: Ottawa Senators: The Benefit of Bringing Back Viktor Stalberg

Final Thoughts

The Ottawa Senators will have to pay up when Karlsson’s contract is up in two years. However, Sens fans shouldn’t worry. Despite Melnyk having a history of being cheap it’s very likely he’ll pay up to keep Karlsson in town. In fact he’s stated he’s willing to pay extra money if the team is making a push for a championship. Karlsson will stay an Ottawa Senator, the question is just for how much?