March 3rd is the NHL trade deadline, and the Carolina Hurricanes are expected to be active in the trade market. The leaders of the Metro division have cap space flexibility and are not afraid to use it.
The flashy names are the most talked about around the deadline, but some of the most important trades are low-key or ones that are not made at all.
The Canes have a good team right now that is strong in all areas and most importantly deep.
This would not be the time to panic and make a move that could be costly to the locker room chemistry or the future of the franchise.
Of course, Patrick Kane, Timo Meier, Jacob Chychrun, and Brock Boeser are the “sexy” names to be acquired. However, the packages to complete that acquisition could become quite hefty, especially with division rivals fighting for the same player.
If the chips fall and Don Waddell can make a splash like these names that would be great but let’s start to look at alternatives.
The Montreal Canadiens is open for business as they are currently in last place in the Atlantic Division and hold the second-worst point total in the Eastern Conference.
In the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, Montreal holds the 7th best odds of winning the NHL draft lottery.
With several players on their last year of the contract, the Canadiens have no reason to hold onto veterans while they re-tool the roster.
Mike Hoffman is signed on for the remainder of this season and next season which allows any suitors some stability and not just acquiring a rental player.
Hoffman’s annual cap hit is $4.5 million, and it is very possible that Montreal would take on some salary if the deal is right. This will not be an issue for Waddell as he currently has over $10 million in cap space due to LTIR.
This is the second season in Montreal for the 33-year-old winger. This season has not been ideal for many in Montreal, but Hoffman has had some injuries that kept him out of 14 contests.
A theme in Hoffman’s career over the last few seasons, he has never gotten a chance to truly get comfortable which has limited his offensive production. That in no way indicates that the skill has been lost.
In just 43 games this season, the former Florida Panther has 9 goals and 14 assists.
Last season, as the Canadiens struggled, Hoffman produced 15 goals and 20 assists in 67 games last season.
Since leaving Ottawa in 2018, the former fifth-round draft pick has had difficulties sticking with a team as he went to Florida for 2 seasons and one year in St. Louis before landing in Montreal.
In Florida, the points came fast and furious. A career high in goals and points was reached in 2019, scoring 36 goals and 70 points. His second season was not much worse with 29 goals and 59 points.
The 2019 season was his healthiest, having played all 82 games.
The Kitchener, Ontario native is a goal scorer, to put it bluntly. Like Max Pacioretty, he has a nose for the net and has a career 11.7 shooting percentage. For the sake of comparison, Pacioretty’s career shooting percentage is 11.3.
Hoffman has scored over 25 goals a season 5 times and has been a 20-goal scorer 6 times in his career.
Being surrounded by better players in a winning environment could take Hoffman to another level and return to his 20-30 goal stature.
This could be a solid backup plan for Waddell and the Canes if the big names jump off the board and it would allow the team to hold onto important pieces and give away mostly draft choices.