Hoff­man’s exit all but as­sured

It should be pos­si­ble for the Sen­a­tors to get a de­cent re­turn for the play­mak­ing winger

Ottawa Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - BRUCE GARRIOCH

What now for Mike Hoff­man and the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors?

That’s the de­ci­sion for Sen­a­tors gen­eral man­ager Pierre Do­rion af­ter Post­media re­ported Tues­day that Melinda Karls­son, the wife of Ot­tawa cap­tain Erik Karls­son, has asked for an or­der of pro­tec­tion against Hoff­man’s fi­ancée Monika Caryk be­cause of al­leged on­line cy­ber­bul­ly­ing.

When word leaked last week the Sen­a­tors were ac­tively shop­ping the high-scor­ing Hoff­man, many won­dered why that was the case and there’s no ques­tion this news is a fac­tor in why the or­ga­ni­za­tion has de­cided to move on from one its most tal­ented play­ers.

The in­di­ca­tions were Wed­nes­day the Sen­a­tors have stepped up their ef­forts to deal Hoff­man and would like to have a trade in place as soon as pos­si­ble. Can the Sen­a­tors get value in re­turn for the high-scor­ing winger or is the as­set di­min­ished?

The be­lief is Ot­tawa can still get a good re­turn for Hoff­man if the club can find the right fit.

Ideally, the Sen­a­tors would like to trade Hoff­man be­fore next week’s NHL draft is held at the Amer­i­can Air­lines Cen­ter in Dal­las and there’s no short­age of opin­ions whether this news is go­ing to hurt the re­turn Ot­tawa is go­ing to get for Hoff­man.

It’s not known what the ask­ing price for Hoff­man is, but you have to think the Sen­a­tors want a first-round pick in 2019 plus a player that can help them right away or a high-end prospect. That guess is just based on past his­tory and the fact that would make sense.

The Sen­a­tors have al­ready agreed to send their first-round pick in 2019 to the Colorado Avalanche as part of the Matt Duch­ene deal, so get­ting one now would as­sure the or­ga­ni­za­tion has one in place if the club doesn’t make the play­offs next sea­son.

Make no mis­take, there was no short­age of in­ter­est in Hoff­man be­fore this news broke and if teams are given the op­por­tu­nity to do their due dili­gence be­fore mak­ing a deal then there’s a good chance that in­ter­est isn’t likely to go away.

It’s be­lieved more than 10 teams have ex­pressed in­ter­est in Hoff­man, who has 107 ca­reer goals and 230 points in 342 NHL games. He had 22 goals last sea­son and many see him with the ca­pa­bil­ity to score 30 goals be­cause he’s got a tremen­dous shot.

The Min­nesota Wild, Dal­las Stars, Van­cou­ver Canucks, Ari­zona Coy­otes, St. Louis Blues, New Jer­sey Devils and Buf­falo Sabres are all in the mar­ket for of­fence, which means they may have kicked tires on Hoff­man.

The be­lief Wed­nes­day was the Blues may be the most ag­gres­sive team in pur­suit of Hoff­man. It should be noted they showed more than a pass­ing in­ter­est be­fore last year’s dead­line.

The Toronto Maple Leafs need to deal with un­re­stricted free-agent winger James van Riems­dyk, who is ex­pected to go to mar­ket, and the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens have a de­ci­sion to make on cap­tain Max Pa­cioretty be­cause he’s been ru­moured to be moved as well.

De­pend­ing on those two sit­u­a­tions, they may show in­ter­est in the 28-year-old Hoff­man as well, but the Sen­a­tors are go­ing to have to push these talks along to help make this be­come re­al­ity. New Min­nesota GM Paul Fen­ton is tasked with mak­ing changes and may be the most ac­tive.

Hoff­man, has two years at a cap hit of ap­prox­i­mately $5.2 mil­lion per sea­son left on his con­tract, but it may be in the Sen­a­tors’ best in­ter­ests to let any team that wants to ac­quire him dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion with Hoff­man and agent Robert Hooper.

Teams will want to find out ex­actly what went on and why the sit­u­a­tion de­volved to the point that these ac­cu­sa­tions are be­ing made. It cer­tainly sounds like the dress­ing room was frac­tured by this last sea­son and teams will want to hear what Hoff­man has to say.

Hooper told Post­media Tues­day it would be hard for Karls­son and Hoff­man to “co­ex­ist” in the same dress­ing room. No, Hoff­man hasn’t asked for a trade, but he knows the “writ­ing is on the wall” and the re­al­ity is a move is a for­gone con­clu­sion.

If Hoff­man wants to help fa­cil­i­tate a move, then he has to do his part as well. He has a 10-team “no-trade” list as part of his con­tract, but it would make more sense if he gave the Sen­a­tors carte blanche to at least speak with all 30 of their op­po­nents to make a move.

That would al­low Do­rion to ne­go­ti­ate with who­ever he wants and would give the Sen­a­tors a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to get the proper re­turn for Hoff­man be­cause the mar­ket would be wide open.

What’s hap­pened here is ugly and sad.

It’s another bad news story in 10-month pe­riod that has been full of them for this team. The Sen­a­tors’ only op­tion is to trade Hoff­man and then sit down with Karls­son on July 1 to see if he wants to sign an ex­ten­sion here.

Right now, the fo­cus is on get­ting Hoff­man a new des­ti­na­tion and that can’t hap­pen soon enough for all three par­ties in­volved in this.

The be­lief is Ot­tawa can still get a good re­turn for (Mike) Hoff­man if the club can find the right fit.

JEAN LEVAC/FILE

Mike Hoff­man’s speed, solid shot and his­tory as a 20-goal scorer should make the winger ap­peal­ing to other NHL teams.

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