Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion met with the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of the 2018 NHL draft, and while he refused to comment on the team’s plans regarding superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson and other players on the roster, he did speak extensively about the recent decision to trade veteran forward Mike Hoffman.
Earlier this week the Senators traded Hoffman, one of the team’s top forwards, to the San Jose Sharks in return for a package of players and picks that included veteran forward Mikkel Boedker.
The trade came less than a week after it was revealed that Hoffman’s fiance, Monika Caryk, was accused of harassing Melinda Karlsson.
[Related: Senators trade Hoffman for underwhelming return]
The first question Dorion faced was a blunt one: Why did you trade Mike Hoffman?
“Trading Mike Hoffman was something we needed to do,” said Dorion (via Sportsnet).
“We talk about — our dressing room was broken,” he continued. “We have to have a dressing room that wants to win together. Key components for us moving forward are, character, leadership, accountability, and we’re very happy with the return we got on Mike Hoffman. We feel Mikkel Boedker is a good player, he had a great second half, he was San Jose’s fifth leading scorer in their two rounds in the playoffs. We know with the culture that we’re aiming to get that he is going ot fit in that dressing room. I did talk to one player, not about his hockey abilities but about him as a person, that played with him, Matt Duchene, and Matt’s words to us were that he’s a great guy, he’s perfect for our room, and the culture we’re trying to build.”
Boedker has two years remaining on his current contract that pays him $4 million per season. He is coming off of a 2017-18 season that saw him score 15 goals and 37 total points for the Sharks.
Shortly after acquiring Hoffman from the Senators, San Jose turned around and flipped him to the Florida Panthers for a collection of draft picks.
Dorion was then asked when he first found out about the harassment that the Karlsson’s were subjected to following the death of their son.
“We heard a rumor at the end of the season,” said Dorion. “If we acted on every rumor we hear, we couldn’t do our job in management as a general manager. No player ever came to us about these things. At the start of every year we address the team. We address the team saying the general manager, our management group, we have an open door policy about anything personal or professional. The only thing we tell our players is don’t come see us about ice time. That is the coaches job.”
He continued: “I think when we address the players this year at the start of the year we are going to make sure in situations like this, they can definitely come to us. I think it’s important. I think in all of this the victim is Melinda Karlsson. If we can do something about it, we wish that this situation could have been prevented.”
This was just one of the many issues the Senators are facing this offseason.
The other serious one involves assistant general manager Randy Lee who is currently suspended indefinitely as he faces second-degree harassment charges for an incident involving a hotel shuttle bus driver in Buffalo during the NHL scouting combine.
Dorion said on Thursday that Lee’s situation will be re-evaluated following the court proceedings.
His next court date is set for July 6.
Along with all of this, it remains to be seen if Karlsson will be back with the Senators next season or if he will be traded (a trade they will have a difficult time winning) as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract.
The Senators also have a big decision to make regarding the No. 4 overall pick and whether or not they keep it (Dorion seems to anticipate they will) or send it to the Colorado Avalanche to complete the Matt Duchene trade (why they should consider it).
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.