Monday, June 17, 2019

The chaos lover’s guide to the 2019 offseason

The offseason is here. Let’s bring the chaos.

Longtime readers know that I’ve long been a diehard fan of Team Chaos. If there are multiple possible outcomes, I like to pick the one that will cause the most anarchy and root for that. I want as many people screaming at each other as possible. Let’s get crazy.

The offseason is prime time for Team Chaos. At least a few weird things happen every summer, and if we’re lucky, enough of them will overlap that pandemonium breaks out. The greatest day in Team Chaos history came in 2016, when we had that wonderful hour where the hockey world lost its mind. We may never see anything like it again, but we can hope.

Today, let’s work through what the perfect Team Chaos offseason might look like. We’re going to try to stay within the realm of plausible realism here; Connor McDavid being traded straight-up for Sidney Crosby would certainly bring the chaos, but it has no chance of happening. We’re aiming for something north of zero here, so while all of the options on our list are unlikely, there’s at least a slim chance we’ll see one or two.

With that in mind, here are some of the stories we’ll be rooting for in the weeks to come. Bring the chaos, hockey gods. We’re here for it.

A full-on Erik Karlsson bidding war

It sounds like it’s still possible that Karlsson will re-sign with the Sharks. Maybe he should – he could get that extra year and San Jose seems like a great place to settle down. Locking in a max-length deal to finish his career with the Sharks would make plenty of sense for Karlsson. For Team Chaos? Not so much.

Instead, we want to see a full bidding war, one where Karlsson talks to several teams and none of us know where he’s headed. In a sense, we’ve never had that before with a truly elite player in the cap era. Steven Stamkos made it to the interview period in 2016, but he didn’t switch teams. And while John Tavares did find a new home, many of us had assumed he was inevitably headed back to the Islanders right up until the calendar flipped over to July 1. That turned out to be wrong, but in hindsight, we probably didn’t appreciate the Tavares sweepstakes enough as they were happening.

This time, we could enjoy it from the start. We need Karlsson to declare himself open for bidding, even if the list of potential suitors still included the Sharks. We’d want to see as many teams as possible in the running, with all of them getting a chance to make their case in person. Tavares talked to six teams. Let’s aim for double digits, Erik.

As for where he winds up, well, there are some intriguing options. Watching the Lightning find room to try to assemble a super-team would be fun. A dramatic return to Ottawa would work because anything involving Eugene Melnyk’s money is always a chaos candidate. The Knights could work. And of course, we’d want a few mystery teams thrown into the mix.

But there’s one option here that feels like the best fit for Team Chaos and that’s the Montreal Canadiens. Karlsson and his family coming “home” without actually coming home would be a nice slap in the face for Ottawa fans. We could play up him snubbing his pal Victor Hedman and the Lightning. And adding another highly paid Hall-of-Famer with a history of greatness but also injury to a Montreal roster that already has two would make for a fascinating story.

The fans and media are already talking themselves into it. Team Chaos should too.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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