It’s cleanup time in Ottawa.
The Senators began mopping up their offseason mess on Tuesday by completing a multi-player trade with the San Jose Sharks that includes veteran forward Mike Hoffman, who remains embroiled in an ugly controversy involving his fiancee, Monika Caryk, Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda.
Last week, the Ottawa Citizen reported that Melinda Karlsson filed a peace bond application, similar to a restraining order, against Caryk in May, accusing her of vicious social media harassment that lasted for most of last season.
One of the most vile anonymous posts targeted Melinda after the recent death of the Karlssons’ stillborn son. In March, Erik Karlsson shared a heartfelt post on Instagram regarding the devastating news of son Axel, prompting an internet troll to accuse Melinda of “popping pain killer medication everyday” during her pregnancy.
“Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead,” Melinda Karlsson said in a sworn statement. “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 derogatory statements about me as a professional,” she added.
Erik Karlsson, one of the league’s premier defenseman, also responded to the comment on Instagram.
“How dare you,” he wrote. “You have been making fake accounts and buying hacked ones for months to harass me and my wife but this is an all new low even for you.”
Caryk has denied the allegations and has hired a lawyer in Toronto to reach out to both Erik Karlsson’s representatives and the Senators to conduct a third-party investigation into the anonymous posts, per the Citizen.
Caryk and Hoffman said Friday they are distressed over what the Karlssons have been forced to endure and that they want to find the person responsible.
“It’s been a really hard week, to be honest,” Caryk told the newspaper. “We both feel terrible for them that they have go through something like this and for us because we’re the accused.”
Hoffman, who was Karlsson’s teammate for parts of the last seven seasons, said he and Caryk are innocent until proven guilty.
“You don’t wish this upon anyone,” he said, per the Citizen. “The comments were, and have been horrendous, and we haven’t had a chance to defend ourselves until this point.”
Caryk said she was first made aware of the allegations against her on March 22, when she said she received an email from Taylor Winnik, the wife of Minnesota Wild winger Daniel Winnik.
“I got a horrific email from a girl named Taylor Winnik, I believe her husband plays in the NHL, saying that I’m a horrible and disgusting person, accusing me of writing negative stuff about the fact that Erik and Melinda lost their child,” Caryk told the Citizen.
Hoffman said he texted Erik Karlsson immediately after learning of the allegations and asked him to discuss the situation.
“It wasn’t until four days later that he spoke with me,” Hoffman said. “We ended up doing it after practice, walking out of the rink, and basically what was said was, ‘I’d like to see what your point of the story is,’ and all he had to say was, ‘We know it was Monika,’ and I asked whether it was on Instagram? Twitter? Just show something or prove something. They wouldn’t do so at the time. All he said was that they knew it was her and it was the only thing mentioned.”
No charges have been filed against Caryk, though Ottawa police is investigating.
The Senators packaged prospect Cody Donaghey and a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft with Hoffman in their deal with San Jose. The Sharks sent veteran forward Mikkel Boedker, defenseman Julius Bergman and a 2020 sixth-round pick back to Ottawa.
The allegations against Caryk haven’t been the only story troubling the Senators this summer.
Last month, assistant general manager Randy Lee was arrested for harassing a hotel shuttle driver in Buffalo during the NHL’s pre-draft scouting combine. He has been accused of making lewd comments and rubbing the shoulders of a 19-year-old male driver on May 30.
Lee, who is responsible for prospect development, will miss part of the NHL draft in Dallas this weekend because he is due in court to face a charge of second-degree harassment.