Carolina Hurricanes: The case for acquiring Mike Hoffman

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames at the BB&T Center on February 14, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames at the BB&T Center on February 14, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching for the Carolina Hurricanes. Here at Cardiac Cane, we are mustering up some of our likely – and unlikely – acquisitions we think the Canes would benefit greatly from.

First off, I will preface this whole article by stating that it is written with the on-ice talents of Mike Hoffman, and only the on-ice talents of Mike Hoffman, being considered. The Carolina Hurricanes would benefit from adding a goal scorer of his obvious talent and any off-ice considerations are not part of our prognostications.

With talks of the Carolina Hurricanes possibly making a trade at the deadline seemingly dissipating almost completely, there are still some needs that I believe this team needs to address. My opinion is that the top need for the club remains a top six pure goal scorer.

Didn’t we already acquire a top six forward?

Some may argue that the Carolina Hurricanes have already achieved this feat when they robbed the Minnesota Wild of the player who is already a massive Caniac-favorite, Nino Neiderreiter. I would actually tend to agree with anyone who would make this specific point. El Nino has been on a tear since his transition to a Canes uniform.

I credit Coach Rod Brind’Amour on this one. Pairing the newest Carolina Hurricanes player with Sebastian Aho and Justin Williams has LITERALLY been the perfect fit. The different play-styles of the trio mesh so well together and that has been obvious. I could go on for days about that line, but that is not the point of this article. The point of this is to plead my case for the acquisition of Florida Panthers’ winger Mike Hoffman.

Why acquire Mike Hoffman?

Mike Hoffman is a pure sniper with great passing ability as well. The 29-year-old has only failed to reach 25 goals once since he started playing consistently in the NHL. Some might argue that the Carolina Hurricanes should steer clear of anybody approaching that frowned-upon age of 30 – and with the way the game is played now, I would almost always agree. But, not in this case.

Hoffman did not start playing full NHL seasons until the 2014-2015 season, when he was 25 years old. My point here is that although he is approaching 30, this is only his fifth season with a full slate of games. This, paired with his style of play, means that he does not have a great amount of wear and tear – or at least, not as much as some players his age around the league might.

The numbers do not lie in this situation. Hoffman is on pace to set career-bests in both goals and assists at 37 and 33, respectively. That sort of goal scoring ability is very tough to come by in the NHL, as all Caniacs know. A player that tickles twine 37 times a year, paired on a line with a magician set-up man like Teuvo Teravainen, would put the Carolina Hurricanes in not only a strong position to make playoffs, but to have a shot at a legitimate run if they are to reach that elusive post-season hockey.

How will that affect Tom Dundon’s chequebook?

I am sure most of you reading are wondering about his contract situation at this point. Mike Hoffman is signed with the Panthers through the 2019/20 season with a cap hit of just under $5.2 million. He also has a modified no-trade-clause, meaning he creates a list of 10 teams he cannot be traded to. A $5.2 million salary seems like a steal for somebody that can have that kind of offensive output; if he were to hold steady to that sort of scoring next season, he will be up for a pretty hefty contract starting in the 2020-2021 (potential lockout) season.

Would Hoffman be worth it? I believe so. I would have no problem with GM Don Waddell paying a late-blooming 30-year-old 30+ goal scorer to a nice sized ticket. Adding, and then keeping, a player like this really would put the Carolina Hurricanes over the hump. Along with the ripple effect throughout the lineup, the Hurricanes would boast a true top six that other teams would have a tough time matching up with for the first time in a long, long time.

What might Hoffman cost us?

Now the big question remains, what would the Canes have to give up for this sort of acquisition, and would the Panthers even be willing to deal him? Of course, we will look right to the right-shot defenseman of the Canes. The Panthers will have two defensemen become free agents this offseason, one restricted and one unrestricted, with the same thing happening in the summer of 2020.

Of course, this trade is completely hypothetical – but if Florida was looking to deal, Justin Faulk could serve as some useful bait. With Brett Pesce continually showcasing his outstanding blue line talent as the season trudges on, and Dougie Hamiltion playing his own brand of stellar hockey, Faulk is my choice in this particular situation.

Faulk and Hoffman’s contracts have the same length left on them, with Faulk having about $350k less of a cap hit. Faulk will also likely be a tad cheaper to sign to a future contract if both players maintain their respective pace. What else might the Panthers want in return? I could see Faulk, a second-ish round pick and a mid-level prospect being sent to Florida in return for Hoffman and a mid-level pick.

Next. The case for acquiring Matt Duchene. dark

Now, would the Panthers be willing to trade Hoffman in his first season with the team? That seems unlikely being that his aforementioned continued growth and sniping ability are a rare commodity in today’s game.

That being said, the Panthers already have some elite players up front in the likes of Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau, and the ever-impressive Aleksander Barkov. Does this make them more willing to part with Hoffman and look to steady their blue line? It does not seem out of the question. The trade deadline looks to be an interesting one. Go Canes!