GARRIOCH: Ottawa Senators docked first-round pick for Evgenii Dadonov trade fiasco

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Gary Bettman has made the Ottawa Senators pay a heavy price for their role in a voided deal by the Vegas Golden Knights that would have sent Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks.

The NHL commissioner confirmed Thursday the Senators will lose a first-round pick in an upcoming draft as a result of general manager Pierre Dorion giving the Knights the wrong information about the existence of Dadonov’s 10-team ‘no move’ clause.

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“Ottawa will forfeit its first-round draft pick in one of the 2024, 2025 or 2026 drafts. The determination as to which pick will be forfeited will be made by Ottawa within 24 hours of the conclusion of the draft lottery for that year,” the league said in a statement.

The Senators have two first round picks in 2024, including one from the Detroit.

The Knights were under the impression that Dadonov hadn’t entered a 10-team no trade list while he was with the Senatoes before the 2021-22 campaign so he no longer had one. The NHL confirmed that wasn’t the case and vetoed the deal that would have sent him the Ducks.

This is a tough for new Senators owner Michel Andlauer to swallow, and, as a result, general manager Pierre Dorion was fired Wednesday afternoon. Yes, they agreed to part ways, but Andlauer had already decided to make a change when he with Dorion Tuesday night.

Andlauer wasn’t the least bit pleased with the way the Dadonov trade was handled by Dorion. Why is Andlauer being penalized?

“That’s a question you’ll have to ask the NHL,” Andlauer said. “You have to ask the NHL why it took a whole year after a two day hearing? It’s a 73-page report. It wasn’t just a slam dunk. The commissioner had a lot of time to think about it and deliberate about it.

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“Why I inherited this is beyond me? There’s no reason for it to last that long. I knew about it in the due-diligence process and from the seller’s perspective it really was considered a non-issue. I don’t know if a first-rounder is a non-issues to you guys but it’s to me.”

Andlauer said the bottom line is the Senators were at fault. He said any attempt to appeal the decision by the league would be “futile”.

“We were negligent in our nature and duty of care was ignored which set off events that embarrassed the league and pissed off two other NHL clubs,” he said.

The league refused to provide any detail as to what happened but the talk in league circles is Dorion gave the Knights the wrong information at the time he made the trade in July, 2021.

Andlauer brought in Steve Staios as the president of hockey operations last month and has started to put his stamp on this team.

Sources say the announcement was supposed to come out last week and it was put off because of the decision by the league to suspend Ottawa centre Shane Pinto on Thursday for 41 games for breaking the NHL’s gambling rules.

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While the league originally had ruled there would be no further action on the matter and, if you’re wondering why this hasn’t been settled, Vegas president of hockey operations George McPhee and GM Kelly McCrimmon refused to let this matter go and appealed to the NHL’s head office to look into it.

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League sources say a secretive hearing involving all the parties — including Dorion, McPhee, McCrimmon and other members of the two club’s hockey operations staff — was held late in 2022 in New York to gather evidence on what happened in this case.

At the time of the trade, the Senators rightfully argued that Vegas had the contract on its books for eight months and didn’t look at the details. The trade the club was making at the time was to try to get rid of Dadonov’s deal so it could free up more cap space.

The 73 page report came on the botched deal came less than a week after Pinto’s suspension. Andlauer wasn’t happy the NHL didn’t tell the Senators about that situation until they were well into the investigation into Pinto’s behaviour.

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“It’s the timing of it all so we can behave accordingly,” Andlauer said. “It’s just the timing. When the investigation was happening, the organization should have been made aware.

“That’s another troubling thing for me. Whether it’s an agent or not, there’s a lot behind the story. I know when I was made, I needed to find out what the investigation was all about. I put a stop to any negotiations going forward when I found out. It made no sense.

“We weren’t getting all the truth or facts and this had started a lot earlier. To me, this is a serious thing.”

These situations have been a wakeup call for Andlauer.

“The last 10 days haven’t been as much fun. It brought me back to earth. Three game losing streak, three injuries to three defencemen and two disturbing phone calls from the NHL,” said Andlauer. “While the timing is tough for all these decisions, I’m looking forward to less phone calls from the NHL offices. I’m looking forward to being best in class.”

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