The Senators have broken up the sordid drama surrounding two of their players’ significant others.
The team announced Tuesday that it was trading Mike Hoffman to the Sharks for prospects and low-level draft picks. The move was more about shipping off Hoffman, whose fiancée, Monika Caryk, is accused of a vicious cyberbullying campaign against star defenseman Erik Karlsson’s wife before and after the couple lost their unborn child in March. The Sharks would then turn around and trade Hoffman to the Panthers, just hours later 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. We are confident it is a step in the right direction for the long-term success of this organization,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement.
The Karlssons accused Caryk of sending an onslaught of hateful tweets and messages directed at them and filed an order of protection — akin to a restraining order — against her last month. The Senators also opened an investigation into the matter.
“Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead,” Melinda Karlsson said last week. “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.”
Hoffman denied the accusations, saying there was a “150-percent chance that my fianceé Monika and I are not involved in any of the accusations that have been pursued.”
However, other Senators wives backed up Melinda’s claims on Twitter.
Kodette LaBarbera, wife of former goaltender Jason LaBarbera, was the most vocal and tweeted: “Her fixation with Mel has always been unhealthy. Then it became scary. So glad Mel is protecting herself. No team will welcome this girl to the room.”
The Sharks are apparently willing to take that chance.
The 28-year-old Hoffman has put up 20-plus goals in each of the past four seasons and is signed for the next two years at a salary-cap hit just under $5.2 million.
“Mike is a skilled, consistent and hard-working player who has proven himself to be a talented goal scorer in the NHL,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a statement. “His speed, experience and offensive abilities will bolster our top-six group.”
Karlsson has been the subject of previous trade rumors, and it’s unclear if this move signals a further commitment to the defenseman or was just to rid the franchise of the frightening controversy.
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