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Las Vegas–As the pursuit for defenseman Erik Karlsson continues, the Vegas Golden Knights, Dallas Stars, and Tampa Bay Lightning are hot on the trail at acquiring him.

On this fourth of July 2018 where US based hockey fans are celebrating America’s Independence Day with friends and family at parties and various events around the nation, the EK65 watch still has them intrigued and glued in by what the latest news on this story.

On his Twitter page earlier today, Chris Stevenson of The Athletic Ottawa reported that Vegas, Tampa, and Tampa are in a fight to acquire the Senators Captain and two-time Norris Trophy winner.

His collague Sean Shapiro reported that as of yesterday the Dallas Stars emerged as the new front runner in the EK65 sweepstakes.

With the Stars ahead of the line in trying to grab Karlsson from Ottawa, Stevenson followed that up by saying that the Senators are looking at getting in return prospect defenseman Miro Heiskanan.

Heiskanen was selected in last years NHL Draft by the Stars at 3rd overall, just three spots ahead of Cody Glass who Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee picked.

The thing that makes Heiskanen an interesting part here for Dallas/Ottawa is he played for HIFK of Liiga last year in Finland. With HIFK, Heiskanen scored 11 goals, recorded 12 assists for 23 points and was +17.

Stevenson added that for the Dallas Stars and GM Jim Nill, they are more comfortable with giving up 22-year old defenseman Julius Honka. Honka spent the 2017-18 season with both Dallas and Texas (their AHL affiliate).

With Dallas, Honka skated in 42 games where he produced one goal, tallied three assists for four points and finished with a -1 rating. Down the minors he played in 10 games and registered two assists at two points at a -4.

Based on the comparison between Heiskanen and Honka alone I could see why Nill is more enthusiastic at parting with his former 2014 14th overall selection.

As it stands right now, the Dallas Stars according to our friends at Capfriendly.com, have $10,670,001 cap space available. Now that Karlsson is entering into his final season of the seven year contract that he signed back on June 19, 2012, the space required of $6.5 million is something that the Stars do have.

However, on one side it seems like because of their cap constraints they are at least one of the teams in the Karlsson sweepstakes that are not going to have take on Bobby Ryan‘s contract as they do not have the space to do so. Ryan still has four more years left on his current deal and commands a cap space of $7.25 million.

Stevenson also reported about Ryan on his Twitter page regarding Dallas as front runners on potentially getting Karlsson.

For Vegas, they currently have $18,750,000 in cap space available as of now so the Golden Knights could easily take on both contracts between Karlsson and Ryan.

To add, the Golden Knights would have to package a deal that includes a roster player, a prospect (Glass’s name has been mentioned previously) and draft pick(s).

In addition with that, the only major issue that could potentially be the deal breaker for Vegas in their quest to acquire Karlsson and Ryan from the Senators is their pending RFA’s that have yet to accept their qualifying offers that McPhee issued out.

Those RFA’s are William Karlsson, William Carrier, Tomas Nosek, Colin Miller, and Shea Theodore.

On the Tampa Bay front, they have a bit of a problem among the three teams pushing to get Karlsson from the Senators and that is they have the least amount of cap space available at $4,446,220 as of today. So like the Stars, they are in the same boat and can’t take on Ryan either as Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported today.

With that not being a contract they can accommodate, they would probably request that Ottawa to retain a portion of Karlsson’s salary to make this work.

Per our friends at CapFriendly.com, the percentage retained cannot exceed 50 percent of the player’s salary (including all bonuses) and Salary Cap Hit.

This could be why the Senators are slow rolling the process in the whole Karlsson trade talks between the three clubs that are still in the mix.

So we are all going to have to wait and see how this all plays out as the Karlsson sweepstakes continue.

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