Why they make sense: The Washington Capitals don’t have time on their side. Their Stanley Cup window is closing (though was it ever really open to begin with?). They are also in a really bad place as far as the salary cap, even with the rising ceiling. Washington, did, however, apparently have serious discussions with the Senators about Karlsson. So let’s make it happen!
Feasible trade: The Caps would have to get very creative to get Karlsson. It becomes borderline impossible if they re-sign John Carlson, so let’s assume they don’t. And also, they’re taking on Bobby Ryan’s contract.
So the Capitals would give up their 2018 first-round pick, Brooks Orpik (a cap dump), defenseman Lucas Johansen, and forward Jakub Vrana. There would be some more pieces involved for cap reasons, but this is a pretty solid framework. In return, they’d get Karlsson and Ryan. The Capitals would proceed to attach their 2019 first-round pick and trade the latter to a team who can afford his contract.
Why it won’t happen: Good things never happen to the Caps. Even if the Capitals get close to trading for Karlsson, they will choke during the second round of discussions. Everyone knows the Caps have a hard time getting past that dreaded second round.