The Ottawa Senators didn’t do much to disguise the reason they traded away veteran left winger Mike Hoffman Tuesday, as the team pointed to locker room issues. The move came a week after news emerged that Hoffman’s fiancee was being accused of conducting a cyberbullying campaign against the wife of the team’s star defenseman and team captain, Erik Karlsson.
Hoffman and his fiancee, Monika Caryk, have denied the allegations. Melinda Karlsson had accused Caryk of targeting her for online harassment during the season, even using the Karlssons’ loss of their unborn son in March as material.
“Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead,” Melinda Karlsson said in an application for a peace bond, similar to a restraining order, she filed in May (via the Ottawa Sun). “She also uttered that she wished I was dead and that someone should ‘take out’ my husband’s legs to ‘end his career.’
“Monika Caryk has posted over 1,000 negative and derogatory statements about me as a professional,” said Karlsson in her application, adding that the harassment began in November 2017 and involved anonymous social media accounts. Ottawa police have reportedly begun an investigation into the allegations.
Hoffman said last week, “There is a 150 percent chance that my fiancee Monika and I are not involved in any of the accusations that have been pursued [that are] coming our way.” He said he and Caryk believe “there’s no place for cyberbullying.”
Hoffman also offered “to cooperate and do anything it takes to find out who is doing this,” saying, “We have nothing to hide.” Nevertheless, the Senators came to the conclusion that the situation had become untenable, and they shipped the 28-year-old, who had 22 goals and 56 points last season, to the San Jose Sharks. That team promptly flipped Hoffman to the Florida Panthers for three draft picks.
“Today’s trade showcases our determination to strengthen the future of the team by improving chemistry, leadership and character in the locker room and on the ice,” Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion said Tuesday in a statement. “We are confident it is a step in the right direction for the long-term success of this organization.”
Ottawa also traded away minor league defenseman Cody Donaghey and its fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft, getting back from San Jose forward Mikkel Boedker, defenseman Julius Bergman and a sixth-round pick in 2020. Dorion praised the versatility of the 28-year-old Boedker and said, “His skill-set — in particular his speed — along with his veteran leadership fits with our vision for the team.”
Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon said of Hoffman (via the Ottawa Sun), “He’s 28, he can score, he can skate and he’s got a great shot. We missed the playoffs by a point and I thought we needed to add some offense along with some speed and skill to our lineup and this turns out to be the fit for us.”
“Let’s call a spade a spade, it would be very difficult for both parties — both Erik and Mike as well as the wives and the fiancees — to coexist in the same wives’ room and the same dressing room,” Hoffman’s agent, Robert Hooper said last week.
“In my 22 years in this business I don’t believe that I’ve ever come across a situation like this,” Hooper added. “This is an exceptionally unique situation and one that’s very unfortunate.”
Of the accusations involving Hoffman and his fiancee, Tallon said, “We did our homework and we discussed it with a lot of people and we feel that’s in the past. We’re very confident that he’ll be embraced by our team and their wives and girlfriends.”
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