Mike Hoffman is a pending unrestricted free agent and has a lot of experience in the NHL. Why is he a good fit for the Carolina Hurricanes?
Carolina had a great season this year in terms of offensive output at the high-end of the scale. Three players within 10 points of a point per game rate at the deadline, to include a defender.
Surely this signified that the Hurricanes long-standing offensive struggles were coming to a close, right? After all, with a top-line as dangerous as the one Carolina can ice, they should be scoring more often than not.
Well, the truth is they were scoring at a faster rate at the high end. However, when you look below that top line for Carolina, only two other forwards had hit the 30 point mark. This may be a premature measure for someone like Vincent Trocheck because he’s only been here for seven games but, even if he hits a point per game rate, that’s still only 4 pieces out of the top six.
Let’s talk about Martin Necas. Seeing as he’s a rookie and with 36 points in his true rookie season, it’s safe to assume he will one day hit the caliber of a top-six player in his career sooner rather than later.
Still, that leaves one remaining hole in the top six, but who can fill that hole for the Hurricanes? It needs to be someone with the ability to produce at the top six levels in the NHL. That has to be the priority this offseason.
So, there are some options. There’s the cream of this year’s UFA crop in Taylor Hall. However, with some major internal pieces needing new contracts at the end of next year, it’s best served to not fork out the big bucks right now. So I looked at Evgenii Dadonov but given his history with the Canes, it’s not worth going back to this well either.
There has also been a discussion about Tyler Toffoli as well.
Then it struck me. Why not keep an eye on the other Panthers forward Mike Hoffman? Hoffman seems like an ideal fit for the Hurricanes on a whole multitude of levels. This goes from his ability to bury the puck to his potential scale of availability this summer as a free agent. It seems like a match made in heaven despite Hoffman’s added luggage historically.
Hoffman is a pure sniper. He put up 36 goals last year and had 29 at the time of the season was called to a stop. That is the mark of a top scorer. Before that? Hoffman has put up 22 goals, 26 goals, 29 goals, and 27 goals.
He’s not put up less than 20 goals at the NHL level since 2013-14 when he only played 25 games. He’s got a nose for finding twine and would be a great addition for Carolina.
Hoffman has a heavy shot, but his passing ability is often overlooked. He is a great playmaker too. He has 30 or more assists in each of the last 5 seasons. He had more than 20 the year before that too. He is a great all-around player in terms of the offensive element of the game. He can pass the puck around a corner, or shoot the puck through a tiny little hole. He’s a double threat.
I did mention that Mike Hoffman has some extra baggage.
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This is from his time with the Ottawa Senators. If reports are to be believed, Hoffman’s girlfriend said some idiotic things to the wife of Senators captain Erik Karlsson, and the feud ended with both players ending up on different teams on other sides of the country. Although Hoffman did nothing wrong, it’s more guilt by association.
Now, Hoffman maybe even more of an ideal target with the latest news out of Florida. Rumor has it the Panthers are looking to make salary cuts again. That may mean the departure of someone like Hoffman to lighten the payroll. Hoffman will want somewhere in the region of 6-7 million dollars per year. Carolina can afford that where maybe Florida cannot.
Question for Cardiac Cane readers: Do you think the Carolina Hurricanes should pursue Mike Hoffman if he is on the free-agent market?