"We're not going to hide the fact that Erik is a franchise player," general manager Pierre Dorion said. "He's our franchise player … and we felt there was no franchise deal out there to make us a better hockey team."
Speculation has been rampant that the struggling Senators would capitalize on Karlsson's tremendous value by trading the 27-year-old before possibly losing him to free agency after next season. Karlsson has a cap hit of $6.5 million this year and next and will be in line for a raise.
Dorian said that he had a "good meeting" with Karlsson on Monday morning and felt that the defenseman wanted to stay with the team he has played for since he was 19 years old. The GM said he'd like to make that happen but didn't rule out a trade could still happen.
"If Erik Karlsson is here July 1, we will be making him a contract offer," Dorian said.
He also said that he didn't actively shop Karlsson — a five-time All-Star.
"We wouldn't be doing our job if we weren't at least listening to offers," he said.
After coming within a goal of going to the Stanley Cup Final last season, Ottawa is the third-worst team in the league this season, and Karlsson has said that he won't give the Senators a hometown discount.
"The only direction I got from my boss was to make the best hockey deals for this organization, and today I didn't feel like there were good enough hockey deals for the Ottawa Senators," Dorian said.
He was asked what it would have taken to move Karlsson.
"Many pieces, that's as much as I'm going to tell you," he said. "When you're going to trade away a generational defenseman, you're going to make sure you get a lot."
Karlsson wasn't the only big name to stay put on Monday after being rumored to be on the trade block. Forward Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens, defenseman Jack Johnson of the Blue Jackets and defenseman Mike Green of the Red Wings were some of the players who, despite recent speculation, won't be changing teams.