NHL trade deadline 2018: Erik Karlsson says he 'never wanted to leave' Ottawa

The biggest thing to come from the 2018 NHL trade deadline might have been the Ottawa Senators not dealing All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson.

The two-time Norris Trophy winner was the biggest name on the block ahead of Monday's in-season deadline, especially after reports indicated the Senators have no plans of giving their longtime blue-liner another long-term contract. Last-minute tweets from TSN's Bob McKenzie, among others, suggested Ottawa had some serious discussions with teams like the Vegas Golden Knights regarding Karlsson's availability. But in the end, nothing happened, leaving many to deem Karlsson and the Sens losers of deadline day.

It turns out, however, that Erik Karlsson isn't so bummed about that.

During a session with Ottawa media broadcast by TSN 1200 on Tuesday, the 27-year-old defenseman said he "never wanted to leave" the Senators despite the popular notion that a trade would give him a chance to join a playoff contender for the rest of 2017-18.

"No, I never wanted to leave," Karlsson said when asked whether he ever requested a trade. "I never had any say in that, and that's a different part of the business that I can't control. And hearing your name being thrown around as much as it was, [that] was very stressful and not something that I enjoyed going through.

"I love it here," he continued. "I've always loved it here. ... I'm at peace where I'm at."

Karlsson didn't exactly commit to a long-term future in Ottawa, though. Opting instead to address the rest of his current season with the Senators, who sit among the NHL's worst teams after a surprise run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2016-17, he admitted he doesn't know what lies ahead since there have "been a lot of changes made here." And his immediate focus, beyond his own performance, will apparently be on "helping younger guys" who figure to play a bigger role in 2018-19.

TSN's Travis Yost previously reported that if the Senators still had Karlsson on their roster after the deadline, they would likely just trade him in June instead.

CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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