NHL Trade Rumors 2018: Dealing Mike Hoffman is first domino that needs to fall for Senators
It’s no secret Mike Hoffman was among players rumoured to have been made available by Senators GM Pierre Dorion at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. As many as five to seven teams were believed to have made pitches for the 28-year old, including the Blues, Blue Jackets, Flames, Kings and Oilers. At the time, either Dorion couldn’t find the right fit or decided Hoffman’s trade value would peak closer to the Entry Draft this June 22.
Fast forward a mere week prior to the draft, Hoffman’s name is once again the subject of trade rumours, but this time with an added twist.
After the allegation of harassment and an order of protection placed by Melinda Karlsson, wife of Senators captain Erik, against Monica Caryk, Hoffman’s fiancée, it’s clear the two players can’t co-exist as teammates next season.
“What we’ve indicated to Pierre (Dorion) is that, let’s call a spade a spade, it would be very difficult for both parties – both Erik and Mike as well as their wives and the fiancées — to co-exist in the same wives’ room and the same dressing room,” Hoffman’s agent Robert Hooper concurred in an Ottawa Citizen article.
In the same article, Hoffman commented, there’s a “150 per cent chance” he and Caryk were not involved in the “accusation.” Ottawa Police are currently conducting a criminal investigation into the matter.
Swapping Hoffman for financial reasons this off-season actually made sense. Cody Ceci and Mark Stone are restricted free agents, while Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Karlsson are UFAs in July of 2019.
Hoffman, who has four straight seasons of 20+ goals, holds a $5.188m cap hit, but is slated to earn $5.6m in actual salary the next two seasons. Moving the speedy winger with laser of a shot off the books for, say, a first-round pick and a top prospect enables Dorion to keep the majority of the Senators’ core intact – that is providing Karlsson remains with the organization.
The puck so-to-speak is clearly in Karlsson’s end of the ice on that one. The two-time Norris Trophy winner must want to remain a Senator long-term. Given the state of this unstable organization, it is understandable if the two-time Norris Trophy winner chooses not to accept any offer, regardless if it’s reasonable or not.
Dorion is clearly under gun to resolve both issues posthaste. Many season ticket holders are delaying decisions to renew seats pending whether Karlsson will be a Senator come training camp in September.
Certainly, the GM does not want to head into next season with a distinct chance the team’s brightest star won’t return for the following campaign given his potential UFA status. The possibility of losing a player of Karlsson’s magnitude without receiving desirable assets in return would be a crippling blow to the listing organization.
Dorion’s first domino is to trade Hoffman. Is there interest?
“Hoffman has value,” noted one NHL executive – suggesting teams who require a top-six forward will always hold interest. However, “more of the story needs to be known.” This statement likely stands for all teams vying for the services of the Kitchener, ON resident.
Is there more to this story? Possibly. However, curious GMs will be forced to perform their own due diligence prior to cutting a deal.
One thing seems certain — Hoffman is soon to be on his way out of Ottawa.
Senators’ fans can only hope Karlsson doesn’t follow.