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Michael Andlauer demands accountability after Evgenii Dadonov debacle

The Ottawa Senators’ new owner fumed in the company of local reporters when discussing the franchise’s trade penalty.

Michael Andlauer, Ottawa Senators (Image: NHL)

Michael Andlauer maintained a low profile when his bid to become the new owner of the Ottawa Senators faced competition from superstar celebrities including Snoop Dogg and Ryan Reynolds, allowing the size of his chequebook to do the talking in his negotiations with the NHL.

In the aftermath of one of the most disastrous weeks in the history of any of the sport’s premier franchises, the Canadian billionaire – who spent $950 million the Senators – is all out of patience and decorum.

If he felt blindsided by Shane Pinto’s half-season suspension for a mysterious gambling infringement, Andlauer fumed visibly to an audience of local reporters when addressing the second crisis of his young reign in Ottawa.

“Why I inherited this is beyond me,” Andlauer said after the NHL announced the Senators would ‘forfeit’ a first-round pick for their role in the Evgenii Dadonov trade debacle. “That’s a question you’ll have to ask the NHL, why it took a whole year since the hearing. The commissioner had a lot of time to deliberate.”

In his latest column for British Ice Hockey, Luke James explains why the Senators have been punished over Dadonov’s nullified trade from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Anaheim Ducks and analyses the fallout from the club’s steep punishment.

Why did Evgenii Dadonov’s trade to the Anaheim Ducks from the Vegas Golden Knights fail?

The Golden Knights attempted to trade forward Dadonov and draft capital to the Ducks for defenceman John Moore and Ryan Kesler’s contract at the trade deadline in 2022.

However, shortly after the deal was announced, the transaction was investigated by the NHL due to a complaint from the NHL Players’ Association.

Evgenii Dadonov, Dallas Stars (Image: NHL)

Evgenii Dadonov, Dallas Stars (Image: NHL)

Two days later, the trade was invalidated after it was found that a limited no-trade clause prevented Dadonov from being traded to Anaheim without his prior consent.

As the Russian did not agree to the trade, he returned to Nevada to finish the season before he was successfully dealt to the Montreal Canadiens the following offseason.

He now plays for the Dallas Stars, for whom he signed a new contract this summer.

Why are the Ottawa Senators to blame for the failed Evgenii Dadonov trade?

Before he became a member of the Golden Knights, Dadonov played for the Senators on a three-season, $15 million deal he inked in Ottawa.

Crucially, his contract included a limited no-trade clause, which allowed him to veto trades to a selection of destinations, including Anaheim.

However, this fact was not disclosed to the Golden Knights when they acquired Dadonov from Ottawa, leaving both Vegas and the Ducks unaware of the clause and the Senators completely at fault for the debacle.

How did Michael Andlauer respond to the Ottawa Senators’ punishment?

In a word, poorly.

Andlauer blasted the league for its handling of the case and moved on from the general manager responsible for the crisis.

After being informed of his franchise’s first-round pick forfeiture, Andlauer spoke with Pierre Dorion and opined that he “should be removed of his duties as general manager.”

Dorion didn’t disagree and paid for the mistake with his job.

“A duty of care was ignored,” said Andlauer of the blunder. “We were downright negligent.”

Michael Andlauer, Ottawa Senators (Image: NHL)

Michael Andlauer, Ottawa Senators (Image: NHL)

He also took aim at the league, suggesting that it – in partnership with the selling party – may have withheld the seriousness of the looming Dadonov penalty in an attempt to extract the highest value possible for the franchise.

“Maybe because the club was for sale and they didn’t want to dispute the sale, and making sure the seller got the biggest price possible,” said Andlauer. “I don’t know.”

When asked about Pinto’s suspension, he added: “It was about the timing. When this happened – that this young man was under investigation – the organisation should have been made aware. I’m looking forward to less calls from the NHL.”

With Dorion fired – albeit under the appearance of a mutual termination – and the league’s administrators firmly in his sights, Andlauer has shown his hand.

He is completely intolerant of ineptitude and demands accountability from everyone in his orbit.

With that in mind, the Senators are unlikely to repeat the mistakes that have bitten them in recent days with Andlauer at the helm.

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