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The Penguins will attempt to complete the Erik Karlsson transaction this weekend.

When a player decides to sign a long-term $11.5 million-a-year contract (like Erik Karlsson) in today’s NHL, he needs to know that he’s handcuffing himself. He has to know that if his club doesn’t do well, he may have trouble changing addresses.

There’s a lot of talk about player empowerment in the NBA… but the guys are all on short-term contracts. There’s no ball and chain like in the National Hockey League.

Anyway. All this to say that in the NHL, transactions aren’t always easy to make. With the low salary cap since COVID-19, it’s clear that it’s not as easy as in the MLB to move.

The New York Mets recently traded two guys who earn $43.3 million (withholding a lot of money, admittedly) because the luxury tax is flexible, because it’s easy to withhold more than 50% of the contract… and because owner Steve Cohen plays by his own rules.

The point I’m trying to make is that it’s not easy, for many reasons, to move big contracts in the NHL. And Erik Karlsson is well aware of that right now, as he’s “stuck” in San Jose.

But could the next few days be favourable for him on the bangs of a Pittsburgh deal? Elliotte Friedman seems to think that yes, it’s a possibility on the table.

Why in the next few days?

Because the fact that Pittsburgh has reached an agreement with Drew O’Connor means that the club has a 48-hour window to proceed with a contract buyout, in order to make room under the cap.

This may not be Kyle Dubas’ #1 plan, as he’s not necessarily fond of buyouts, but hey.

Could Jeff Petry, who wants nothing to do with playing in San Jose and is currently blocking the Penguins, be a buyout option for the Penguins? Maybe, yes.

Right now, according to Cap Friendly, the Penguins are over the $3.216M cap (which is allowed in the off-season). Even if the Sharks withhold a good portion of the Norris Trophy winner’s salary, it’s going to take some way to free up some cash.

Yes, some salary will surely make its way to San Jose in return (I don’t just see prospects and picks going the other way), but it may not be enough.

In bursts

– It was clear that the former Lions player was leaving.

– What are the Red Sox playing at?

– It’s quiet in Calgary right now.

– Outdoor game: a look at the Kraken and Golden Knights logos. [HF]

– What will he be doing this year?

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