Insider: "Clarity" On Erik Karlsson Could be Coming This Weekend

While the Pittsburgh Penguins finally settled on their new general manager, with president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas essentially hiring himself, "the bigger story" could come this weekend, according to NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman.

While the Erik Karlsson trade talks with the San Jose Sharks have stalled of late, with the Penguins still seemingly in the driver's seat, Friedman believes that certain factors could push things forward on that front this weekend: 
The Penguins settled with (RFA) Drew O'Connor (earlier this week), and that means this weekend they now have a 48-hour buyout window and some potential roster flexibility. Dubas has said he doesn't like to use buyouts, we'll see, but I'm very curious to see, if by the time that buyout window closes, and it closes on Sunday, we have some clarity on Erik Karlsson.  
I've had a couple of people say, 'keep an eye out this weekend, there's gonna be an attempt to see if this can get closed.' 

The big sticking point, of course, with any Karlsson deal is that the Norris Trophy winner has a massive $11.5M cap hit that the Penguins (or any team, really) can't take on. The Sharks will need to eat a good chunk of it, in addition to other moves Dubas could look to make.

After the O'Connor signing — two years, $925K AAV — the Penguins are $3.216 million over the cap. Something still has to give to get cap-compliant. They did get some unexpected flexibility due to the newly-announced Jake Guentzel ankle injury; he could get placed on LTIR for some time to start the season. 

And, as Friedman suggested, with this buyout window, there's always a chance that Dubas unloads some salary. Mikael Granlund is a candidate, with his $5M AAV. 

Could the Karlsson Sweepstakes come to a close this weekend? We'll be watching Dubas's next move.  

 Photo: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports