Frustration among the Ottawa Senators fan base may be about to reach an all time high.
On Wednesday TSN National Hockey League insider Darren Dreger was on TSN 1200 radio in Ottawa where he was discussing TSN's new trade bait list when, as you would expect, the topic of the Ottawa Senators and what their trade future looks like this summer came up. Unfortunately for fans in Ottawa it sounds like the Senators might be going for somewhat of a tear down here as it sounds like they are expected to deal one of their best offensive threats.
"The Mike Hoffman trade is far more likely than Erik Karlsson," began Dreger before adding "In fact I would be surprised if Mike Hoffman wasn't traded at the draft. I think that the interest has been significant dating back to the turn of the year, January 1st. It was significant right up to the trade deadline."
Losing Hoffman will undoubtedly hurt the Senators offense significantly come next season unless they find a suitable replacement for him, something they do not appear to have in their system at this time. That being said though the team gave up a ton in order to acquire star center Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche and trading Mike Hoffman could allow to replenish some of the assets that they lost in that trade. Duchene cost the Senators a king's ransom however and it's fair to question how much general manager Pierre Dorion will be able to convince a team to pay for Hoffman's services. The good news for fans in Ottawa is it sounds like the ask is high.
"He's not giving him away and the ask for Mike Hoffman was multiple pieces leading up to the trade deadline," said Dreger.
Dreger believes that the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft will provide the ideal conditions for Dorion to make the trade that has long since been rumored while also making it easier for the teams who had interest in Hoffman at the deadline. The NHL's salary cap is expected to increase by as much as a whopping $8 million next season which means that teams in the league will have considerably more cap space than they did on February 26th. Additionally teams are often much more willing to make significant trades that involve draft picks on the draft floor due to the fact that they can see in real time which players they value may have fallen lower than expected, or if a player they valued was picked and they would rather move back down the draft.
The concern for fans in Ottawa is the fact that this news comes off the heels of two sources, including one NHL executive, revealing that they expect Karlsson will also be traded rather than re-sign with the Ottawa Senators. If that report is indeed correct, and it comes from a pretty good source, it sounds like the Senators are going to be blowing up a significant portion of their roster this summer, including some of their most valuable players.
They do have two first round picks already though, and if they do indeed move both Karlsson or Hoffman or bothh, they could acquire additional picks that would allow them to enter an accelerated rebuild.