By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Free agent winger Mike Hoffman’s market isn’t what it should be.
Still on the market a month into free agency, the 30-year-old Hoffman has received nothing but ‘bargain city’ offers from teams, according to Pierre LeBrun. It’s pretty incredible when you consider that Hoffman entered the market as its top scorer this past season, with 29 goals and 59 points in 69 games for the Florida Panthers.
Still, Hoffman’s camp has been saying all the right things. They’ve made it known that they have no qualms with a potential one-year deal, and they’re content waiting it out (something Taylor Hall was not keen on doing) to find the right fit.
“Very patient,’’ Hoffman’s agent, Rob Hooper, told LeBrun last week when asked of his client’s approach. “Mike has been one of the most consistent goal scorers the last six seasons and the last two were his best. More importantly, Mike, like every great scorer is willing to be patient and look for the right opportunity.’’
This might be just what the Bruins are looking for when it comes to potentially bringing Hoffman into the fold.
By now, it’s clear what Hoffman is: He can score your team a bunch of goals (and make a significant impact on your power play), but expecting him to provide a lick of help in the defensive zone is beyond wishful thinking.
Hoffman could, in theory, slot in perfectly with David Krejci as your second-line left wing, and you could shelter the hell out of them with offensive-zone starts. The Bruins haven’t been afraid to do this with recent iterations of the Krejci line. Hoffman may be an upgrade over current second-line left wing Jake DeBrusk in this regard, and DeBrusk may honestly be better off on a line with Charlie Coyle. (I’m convinced the only reason we’re still trying to force this DeBrusk-Krejci fit is because Krejci’s your best center not named Patrice and DeBrusk’s your best winger not named Brad or David.)
The Bruins will also have some glaring holes in their lineup to begin the season, with both Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak expected to miss the start of next season should it begin in January as currently planned. Also worth mentioning: The Bruins could place both players on the long-term injured reserve and free up some cash for somebody like Hoffman if that indeed remains the case. But B’s general manager Don Sweeney hinted that he doesn’t foresee the team having to do that.
It’s also fair to wonder just how serious the Bruins are about Hoffman at this point.
At one point considered among those ‘most interested’ in adding him, it’s been crickets since, and Sweeney has said that the Bruins don’t have anything immediately lined up as their next move. (He also lauded the addition of Greg McKegg in that same answer, but I think it’s everyone’s best interest if we just ignore that.)
The Bruins also have their share of left wings signed for next season — Marchand, Anders Bjork, and Nick Ritchie are all on the books for next season, McKegg, Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh are expected to compete for bottom-six roles, and all while DeBrusk remains unsigned — and cap space is dwindling.
But if there’s one thing that could get the Bruins to bite and embrace a surplus of wings while also adding a six-time, defense-free 20-goal scorer, it’s seeing the word ‘bargain city’ attached to him.