Having had a night to sleep on it, both the big picture of how they handled this and the small box of the specific return, really are just horrible. It's easy to shit on Melnyk, and no doubt that he's a huge part of the problem, but many teams have had bad owners. When this team was bankrupt 15 years ago, we were still a top team because we were run intelligently. And while the absence of an owner may be better than the one we have, Dorion is also accountable for the decisions he makes and the things he communicates. I truly want to believe that this organization can be successful without ownership change - because Melnyk doesn't appear to be going anywhere - and for that to happen we need to be extremely well managed. All available evidence suggests Dorion lacks the capacity to do that.
Big picture, Dorion still has yet to offer a coherent explanation for what happened with Karlsson and why he put himself in this situation. Brent Wallace's question is spot on - if you're saying this was the plan in February, why did you offer him a contract in July. He has also yet to provide any clarity on why we went big on Duchene mid-season, only to decide on a rebuild weeks later. His answers are incoherent and borderline insulting to intelligent fans, and until he finds a way to transparently communicate to the fanbase, he will be and should be viewed with contempt. I honestly do not know what the full story may be - it sure looks like they made a non-offer to Karlsson in July for some unknown reason (buy themselves time?), but why they handled it this way and how the Duchene decision fits I really don't know. I hope they are able to sign Duchene and Stone, because after two more trades for pennies on the dollar, I don't know if they would ever be able to dig themselves out of this.
Small box, what an awful trade. We got substantially less for Karlsson than we gave up for Duchene, despite deciding to move on from EK when he had a year and a half left on his deal. The only possible way to view this return as a success is if you measure it against the Tavares scenario of him walking (or the Josh Donaldson of him getting hurt). But it's an incredibly low upside return - no 2019 first rounder, no top prospect. Norris is probably the best asset in the deal, I like him as a prospect, but he's in the Colin White range, with probably better hands and less production. Dorion selling him as Tkachuk's friend is embarrassing. Tierney's a useful third liner we did not need. Balcers has skill, but in Dorion's own words he's a possible diamond in the rough. San Jose didn't even qualify DeMelo. All in, we made a trade with a team with one of the weakest prospect pools in the league and without a guaranteed first rounder this year, and somehow didn't even get their best young asset (Timo Meier).
It's impossible to know whether there were better offers out there, but Dorion has already made one trade with San Jose this summer where we know, for a fact, he could have done better. I appreciated him being asked about the Hoffman deal on the radio, and to hear him response that the pick from San Jose could end up better than the one from Florida was cringe inducing. It's the same line he used when we gave up a second with Zibanejad and got a seventh back - that the seventh could end up the better player. To me, either Dorion doesn't understand the concept of value, or he genuinely thinks the fans are stupid. Self-inflicted wounds and own goals all over the place.
Frankly, I don't live in Ottawa anymore and have lots of entry points to enjoy hockey. The Sens will always be my team, but after this I am just not sure I can invest in an organization run this poorly. Dorion absurdly asking fans to trust they know what they're doing shows a stunning lack of awareness and humility. A rebuild may even be the right thing, but how could you possibly believe Melnyk and Dorion are up to the task.