(Editor’s note: And a big welcome to the second new writer for the team! Say a big hello to Dewie as she writes for us for the first time.)
For all the Sens who couldn’t wait until the awful season was over, I hope you are doing well this week. After suffering through an abysmal season, any normal fanbase would have the off season and specifically the draft week to look forward to but no not us, because Ottawa fans can’t have nice things. On Friday, the Sens are slated to make a choice at 4th overall that can signficantly improve the team right away and while the Randy Lee investigations took away from the excitement from the draft, most of us still had our hopes up for something positive to finally happen. Unfortunetly, last week news broke about the harrasment charges against Mike Hoffman’s fiance against Melinda Karlsson and rest is history. For a team that waits too long to react on almost everything, Dorion was quick to make a trade today to make sure any threat to the dressing room/hockey family chemistry was immediately removed. The question remains though is that knowing this was an issue for the better part of the season, why wasn’t Hoffman traded before everything went public?
First off, from the details we have (which aren’t much), the harrasment really took a terrible turn around March and possibly became known to the team at that time. While there was probably tension beforehand, there is no proof that the team knew the severity of the situation. That being said, I don’t believe that Dorion never sought out a Hoffman trade at the deadline or prior to today, I just think he underestimated the situation and didn’t expect it to become so public giving him more time to get the best offer. At this point, I think most logical Sens fans are happy he’s just gone because whether Karlsson stays or not, this kind of toxicity (if proven true) cannot be around the rest of the players or their families either. I understand the disappointment with the return, but I really don’t think Dorion had a lot of options and not knowing the plan with Karlsson makes every move even harder to assess.
Here’s how it all went down; the day started with the exciting news of Hoffman getting traded to the San Jose Sharks for Mikkel Boedker, Julius Bergman and a sixth round pick. Not the best return but decent, especially with the Boedker-Duchene relationship and loading up on young Swedish Ds is never a bad thing, add to that the minor savings in cap and actual cash. From that point, it seemed the Sharks were loading up with some high end scoring forwards with the belief that they are prepating to go all in for another competitive season. Having taken on Evander Kane (and previously Heatley), it was also believed that they had no issues with players with “baggage” so to speak. The criticism at this point was that the pick back wasn’t great, Bergman isn’t the greatest prospect and Boedker has half of Hoffman’s talent but the general consensus was that for the situation that Dorion was in, he did okay.
The biggest shocker was seeing that only a few hours later, the San Jose Sharks decided to trade Mike Hoffman along with a seventh round pick to the Florida Panthers in return for picks. This wasn’t met with a great reaction and understandably Sens fans were both concerned and angry for more than one reason.
- Why did Dorion take on a salary dump when he could have secured future assets with the picks? Initially, it was believed that Dorion never even approached the Panthers due to a team policy to avoid trading within the division. This was later denied by many sources, although it seemed Dorion did raise the price for the Panthers and demanded a player instead of picks. Here lies the other concern, why would Dorion prefer a salary dump over picks? The likes of Yost and Dreger eqauted the move to an immenent Karlsson/Ryan trade where Melnyk would use Boedker’s salary to reach the cap floor. While there is some logic to this theory, I personally think it’s a simple message that the team is not entering a rebuild mode and want an impact player right away, especially if the plan is to unload more second/third line players soon. We’ll see how this shapes up but until the Karlsson situation clears up, I don’t think any of these moves will give a clear indication of where this team is headed nor do I think Dorion truly knows himself.
- Why couldn’t Dorion wait for a better offer? Karlsson surely could’ve waited a couple of weeks to see his nemisis gone. Waiting on the Hoffman trade any longer would’ve been the worst decision by the Sens. If the Sens have any hope of keeping Karlsson, they need to show some real commitment to him and prove that keeping him is a top priority for the team. Also, having taken too long to deal with the Randy Lee situation as well as the pressure of the whole incident going public, this was a good PR move for Dorion and the Sens and a much needed one to get rid of the distractions before the draft.
From a Sharks point of view, they seem to have won the trades assuming the cap space they freed up is wisely used (Tavares or Kovaluchuk) or even worse, have a good chance at landing Karlsson. From a Sens point of view, I don’t think the return is too horrible especially if Bergman pans out but what fans need to really consider is that this was never going to be a hockey trade with great return. Weather the team knew about the Caryk/Karlsson situation beforehand and failed to act upon it in due time is something we don’t know at this point but it is now the situation we’re in and at this point it’s safe to say, one we must move on from. At the end of the day, the biggest and most successful return we can get from this trade is a Karlsson extension and I think this is one thing we can all agree on.
Chin up Sens fans, things can only get better from here on. Let’s sit back, hope for a Habs hiccup that lands us Filip Zadina and then maybe as Darren Dreger would say “the planets will align” for us and Erik Karlsson gets the contract he really deserves. For now, the rumours will come and go but until it’s an offical release from the Senators we can only hope for the best.
Go Sens Go!