The good news is that the Boston Bruins are still among the top suitors for Mike Hoffman.
Despite that, the prolific goal-scoring right wing still remains curiously unsigned in free agency with the Thanksgiving holiday almost here. It doesn’t appear the soon-to-be 31-year-old Hoffman is going to sign a contract until there’s a little more certainty with the start of the NHL’s regular season, but when it does happen it’s expected to be a one-year deal north of the $5.1875 million AAV he was making with the Florida Panthers over the last couple of seasons.
So, who are the favorites to sign Hoffman when the dust does settle?
As I wrote in Sunday’s Hagg Bag mailbag, Hoffman would be a big help for the Bruins despite the mild-to-strong protests of the fancy stats crowd. The winger’s 18 even strength goals last season would have put him just behind the Perfection Line guys (and ahead of everybody else on the Bruins) in terms of 5-on-5 offense, and flies in the face of the common, somewhat lazy charge that Hoffman is only a power play scorer.
Potentially landing a proven 30-goal scorer for around $6 million in salary cap cost would be a bargain and would be exactly the kind of secondary scoring punch that the Boston Bruins have lacked the last few seasons in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Lyle Richardson from the Bleacher Report put together an article outlining the top teams vying for Hoffman, and had the Bruins ranked fourth among the top tier of free agent suitors for the goal-scorer.
While they are in the conversation, it sounds like that be as close as it gets in a familiar refrain when it comes to the Boston Bruins.
The big issues for the B’s, surprise, surprise, was the $7 million remaining in salary cap space with RFA Jake DeBrusk still left to sign, and decisions still to be made on 43-year-old Zdeno Chara’s future in Boston. The other teams mentioned above them (New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers and the Nashville Predators) all have more salary cap space to sign Hoffman immediately, and that could put them at a distinct advantage.
But there might also be a reason that Hoffman is simply hanging around and waiting before signing with a team. Maybe it’s less about teams lowballing him on one-year deals and it’s more about waiting for the right team to make some deals, free up some cap space and finally be able to bring Hoffman into the fold? That could be a good sign for the Black and Gold.
We’ll have to wait and see, of course, but it’s pretty clear the Boston Bruins are still right in the mix for Hoffman’s services. Now on to the puck links:
*Former Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward talks about the prospects for the upcoming season as the head coach of the Calgary Flames entering his first full season:
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) November 21, 2020
*If you think that the COVID-19 vaccine breakthroughs are going to lead to packed crowds in NHL arenas within a couple of months, it might be time to think again. (CBC Sports)
*Are the San Jose Sharks going to need to leave San Jose to have training camp due to current COVID-19 protocols in Santa Clara county? Maybe so. (Mercury News)
*Self-promotion alert! Your favorite humble hockey writer chatted with the Illegal Curve boys out in Winnipeg this weekend, so here’s a good destination for some Bruins talk. (Illegal Curve)
*Massachusetts native and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Meghan Duggan answers 10 questions covering her hockey career and her post-playing desire to join an NHL front office now that retirement has beckoned after some excellent seasons with Team USA. (NECN)
*FOH Dan Kingerski talks about his hockey heroes and it includes Massachusetts native and former BU star Dan LaCouture, who spent some time with the Bruins toward the end of his career. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
*Are NHL owners showing their true Grinch colors as the NHL and NHLPA haggle out an agreement for a 2020-21 NHL regular season? Jack Todd thinks so. (Montreal Gazette)
*For something completely different: Yes, it’s true that Bell Biv DeVoe performed at the 2020 American Music Awards this weekend…so now you know. (Rolling Stone)