Following the Ottawa Senators’ home finale on Monday night, a 6-5 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, defenceman Erik Karlsson picked up the puck from an empty net and tucked it into his hockey pants.
After the game, Karlsson said he didn’t think anything of it.
"I was down there and I saw it was in the net so I just picked it up and decided to keep it. I haven't [thought about the final home game] until now,” Karlsson told reporters after the game.
"I'm a social guy, I read a lot of things and I'm not reading too much into it, but obviously the word is out there from [the media]. It's not something I've thought about going into this game and it's not something I'm going to think about for a while."
Karlsson was the subject of heavy trade speculation leading up to the deadline on Feb. 26. The Sens elected to hold onto the two-time Norris Trophy winner but questions remain about his future with the club leading into the summer.
"Multiple teams phoned but Erik's a franchise player and we felt there was no franchise deal out there that could satisfy to make the best hockey deal," said Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion in his post-deadline news conference.
Karlsson is set to enter the final season of a seven-year, $45.5 million contract next season that he signed ahead of the 2012-13 season and is eligible to begin negotiating an extension on Canada Day.
“When we can offer Erik a contract on July 1st, we will do so. I hope this clarifies things. We don’t want to get into specifics on too many players but we think it’s important that we need to mention that,” Dorion told Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun in March.
Karlsson had three assists Monday night to give him his fifth consecutive season with at least 60 points. In 71 games, Karlsson has nine goals and 53 assists.
The Senators close out their season with three games on the road, starting Wednesday in Buffalo. They face the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday and then the Boston Bruins Saturday night.