The Boston Bruins were reportedly willing to go the extra mile to secure a one-year deal with Taylor Hall when they were in the running for the free agent winger’s services in NHL free agency. That meant the B’s would have dealt away a player or two for salary cap relief to create the space necessary to ink the former Hart Trophy winner to a one-year contract like the $8 million deal he eventually signed with the Buffalo Sabres.
The Bruins could end up making the same kind of arrangement with free agent sniper Mike Hoffman based on the most recent developments out of his camp. The 29-year-old Hoffman is willing to take a one-year deal this offseason, according to his agent, similar to Hall in the COVID-19 crushed NHL economy, but likely at a lower rate than the $8 million that it cost Buffalo to eventually sign the former first overall pick.
That’s not too shabby at all for the best pure goal-scorer still left on the market.
“There’s no issues on a one-year deal,” Hoffman’s agent, Robert Hooper, told The Athletic in a story published Tuesday. “Obviously, if you’re going to take a one-year deal, you want to put yourself in a good situation because you’re going to be back in the market next year again.
“I think some of the teams that would love to add Mike Hoffman to their roster have had difficulty moving pieces around in order to make room for a guy like Mike. Who doesn’t want a 30-goal scorer in your lineup? Raise your hand.”
Hooper mentioned that nearly half the league had expressed interest in Hoffman, but there were five or six serious suitors believed to be teams like the Bruins and Nashville Predators among others.
Certainly, the Black and Gold would be raising their hand for a guy like Hoffman that’s averaged 28 goals per season since entering the league and scored 65 goals and 129 points in two seasons with the Panthers. Hoffman has a lethal shot and release, knows how to get to the scoring areas and would be exactly the kind of elite finisher that David Krejci has been without on the second line for the last few seasons.
Given the top-6 spot and the power play time he would garner as a shoot-first kind of player on a team full of unselfish pass-first teammates, the Bruins would arguably be one of the best spots for Hoffman to shine in a one-year audition for a biggest contract next time around.
The problem right now for the Boston Bruins: The flat salary cap. The Bruins have $7 million in cap space and an unsigned Jake DeBrusk that’s probably going to account for half the open space unless they trade him to address roster needs. The Bruins would love to move the contracts of players like Nick Ritchie and John Moore, but that’s a more difficult undertaking given the new NHL normal of a flat salary cap for the foreseeable future.
Still, if the Bruins envision that they have one more kick at the Stanley Cup can then a pickup like Hoffman could go a long way toward pushing them back into true contender status after losing Torey Krug in free agency. It might be a difficult chore, but it’s one that Don Sweeney should be capable of given that the player’s agent is saying things that the cap-strapped Boston Bruins would absolutely want to hear.