According to the latest NHL Trade Rumors, the Boston Bruins are among the teams interested in trading for Ottawa Senators wing Mike Hoffman
The Boston Bruins have been a huge surprise this season. Many saw them as a potential playoff team this season, especially after returning to the postseason in 2016-17 after two years of narrowly missing them. But the Bruins are even better than people thought, emerging as a potential Stanley Cup contender. Boston has been a constant name in recent NHL trade rumors. According to his latest 31 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman believes the Bruins are among the teams interested in trading for Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman.
"Boston joined the group of teams checking out Mike Hoffman."
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The Bruins are in a pretty unique situation. On paper, they have a deep lineup with three lines capable of scoring and an efficient blue line. Their recent results (a 17 game point streak entering Wednesday, Jan. 24) support this.
This makes them, in a way, built to win now and in the future. Those two objectives are much like “yin” and “yang” – there’s a delicate balance between the two. But at some point, the Bruins are going to push to win a Stanley Cup. With captain Zdeno Chara’s career likely ending sooner rather than later, now could be a good year to go all-in. And by all accounts, Hoffman is the kind of guy they should target.
Why he makes sense
The Bruins know him very well, as the Senators are their division rival. They saw Hoffman score two critical goals against them in Game 3 of their first-round series. With most trade deadline acquisitions, there’s a bit of uncertainty. But the Bruins know Hoffman well, so there’s very little, if any, uncertainty with him.
He makes sense for them because you can never have too many good players. The Bruins are pretty solid at left wing, though. Brad Marchand is an elite player, albeit one capable of exploding at any given moment. Jake DeBrusk isn’t Mathew Barzal, but he’s doing a very good job as their second line left wing. He gels nicely with David Krejci.
Danton Heinen is currently slotted in as a left wing, but he’s a natural center. He’s doing quite well on the third line, but even Hoffman would probably be an upgrade over him. On a much worse team than the Bruins, Hoffman has more goals (12 to 10) than Heinen and a comparable point total (32 to 30).
You can never have too much goal scoring. And even in a down year, Hoffman’s a darn good player. His 8.1 percent shooting percentage is noticeably lower than his career average of 12.1 percent, suggesting he could be due for a hot streak. If the Bruins can catch lightning in a bottle, that would further increase their chances of a deep postseason run.
Why he doesn’t
The price for Hoffman is going to be expensive for several reasons. Firstly, the Senators hold all the leverage. They have no reason to want Hoffman off the roster as soon as possible. He’s under team control through the 2019-20 season at a very reasonable $5.1875 annual cap hit.
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That number is right up against Boston’s current projected trade deadline cap space of $5.194185 million. So unless Ottawa either retains some of his contract (further increasing the price to get him) or takes on a roster player (perhaps spare defenseman Adam McQuaid with some retained salary), the Bruins might not be willing to make Hoffman their lone deadline move.
There’s also the issue of chemistry. Yes, it’s an intangible, which by definition, you can’t measure using normal metrics. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. The Bruins have a really good thing going for them right now. Hoffman would be a luxury for them, as opposed to a need. As the saying goes, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Currently, the Bruins aren’t broken.
Hoffman could be the missing piece for a contender. But with the Bruins current roster, he’s probably not that guy. If they’re going to overpay for a Senators forward in a trade, it should be Mark Stone. Imagine trying to do anything against a forward trio of Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Stone. Good luck. If the Bruins want to swing for the fences this year, Stone should be the guy they do it for, not Hoffman.
While Mike Hoffman is certainly an intriguing player, he simply doesn’t make sense for the Bruins. Especially given his expensive price tag.
For more NHL Trade Rumors, check out our Rumors page.