Carolina Hurricanes: Top Six Forwards in Free Agency

Nino Niederreiter #21, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Nino Niederreiter #21, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Mike Hoffman (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Mike Hoffman (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

Mike Hoffman

This is a much cheaper alternative than the previous one, mainly due to the fact that this player has never been the league MVP, but that doesn’t mean Mike Hoffman doesn’t hold incredible value to a team with his on-ice play. Hoffman is a pure goal scorer, something the Hurricanes have needed for a long time and he would slot in so perfectly on the 2nd line.

Targeting the Kitchener, Ontario native makes a lot of sense for many reasons. For one, slotting him alongside former teammate Vincent Trocheck on the second line may provide a spark to help with the depths offense. Hoffman also provides a left-handed shot to a line that would project to be with Twi right-handed shots in the form of the aforementioned Trocheck and Martin Necas.

Hoffman has put up at least 20 goals in every season since 2014-15 and has either surpassed 30 or been on pace to pass 30 when the season was halted for the last 2 years. He seems to be getting more deadly with time. His heavy shot can beat even the best goalies in the league. Although he’s aging, his numbers suggest his on-ice production hasn’t been affected yet.

However, there’s a common knock on Hoffman. Mainly it’s that his 5v5 stats don’t read too well and he’s mainly a power-play specialist. He’s not exactly a Selke candidate defensively and I do think it’s a very fair comment. So, why should Carolina target someone who cannot score at even strength? If all we needed was a power-play specialist, there’s loads of cheaper alternatives.

Commonly, this is a fair comment, but the thing with Hoffman is that he is such a threat with his shot, he doesn’t need to be on the power-play to score. It’s just where he’s most dominant. Hoffman would be a perfect fit on a team that created more chances than anyone else in the league last year, but only finished 15th in goals for across the NHL.

Now, I’m not saying we can expect something like this absolutely disgusting deke from Hoffman in every game he plays, but you can see his scoring ability and with the number of chances the Canes generate, it feels like a recipe for success to me.

Hoffman is nearly in his 30’s and would also provide somewhat of a veteran presence in the line-up. However, Hoffman being nearly 30 also means the contract couldn’t be too long term. Something along the lines of 7 million over 3 years should make Hoffman consider his options a little closer, depending on if he wants money and term, or to go chasing a cup ring.

With Florida also supposedly looking to off-load salary and money this off-season, it could make Hoffman a free agent even if he doesn’t want to be. So there’s a very high chance of Hoffman hitting the market. Obviously, there would be a number of suitors after him, but pursuing him is something that should certainly be considered closely by the Carolina Hurricanes management.