Mike Hoffman would be a perfect fit for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It has been over a month since Free Agency opened and Mike Hoffman is somehow still available on the open market, perhaps best epitomizing the current state of the sporting landscape due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Money just isn’t there for a lot of teams to splash the cash without a worry in the world, while other franchises will no doubt opt to remain as close to the cap floor as possible.
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As a result, Hoffman and a few other notable names remain stranded out in the hockey wilderness waiting for that right offer to drop from the sky.
While certain players might have a much longer wait, someone with Hoffman’s talent and status shouldn’t be out of work too much longer given what he can offer a team.
We already mapped out here the three best remaining landing spots for Hoffman, although we did leave out an organization that would make a hell of a lot of sense.
The Columbus Blue Jackets.
Flush with cap space and needing some firepower, the Blue Jackets would be a perfect fit for Hoffman and we are going to explain why…
Made For Each Other
Mike Hoffman is one of the deadliest snipers in the entire National Hockey League, and he has a proven track record throughout his career.
Just one of seven NHL players to have scored at least 22 goals in each of the past six seasons, coupled with at least 55 points in each of the past five seasons, Hoffman is an offensive juggernaut and he would be a huge addition to any top-six unit in the league.
Having also rounded out his defensive game in 2019-20, battling harder in the dirty areas, becoming more responsible and taking on a real leadership role with the Florida Panthers, Hoffman would also be a huge asset in the room too.
Use him on either the top or second line and put him on the power play, the 30-year-old can play in all situations and he’s still in the middle of his prime years, so whoever takes that plunge to sign Hoffman could be getting a piece that helps to push them over the top.
And this is where the Columbus Blue Jackets come in to the equation.
It has been a strange couple of years for the Blue Jackets who shocked the world by sweeping the all-conquering Tampa Bay Lightning in the First Round of the 2018-19 Stanley Cup Finals, before losing to the same opponent in this year’s postseason.
That is a lot of star power to lose but full credit to Head Coach John Tortorella who has kept this team competitive, ensuring that they are at least tough to play against on a nightly basis.
Granted, the Blue Jackets are hardly bereft of talent with a couple of studs on the blueline in Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, while the front office made some notable offseason additions after signing veteran center Mikko Koivu and trading for forward Max Domi from the Montreal Canadiens.
While Domi and Koivu will certainly make Columbus stronger up the middle, they lack a real top-six game-changer on the wings.
Mike Hoffman would put that right.
Looking at this roster, Hoffman could easily slide straight in on the top line and provide a high-end weapon for center Pierre-Luc Dubois, or he could prove to be an ideal running mate for Domi.
Having lit the lamp 29 times and put up 59 points in 2019-20 for the Florida Panthers, Hoffman would bring a hell of a lot of offense with him to Columbus and that could be the difference between a First Round exit and maybe a deeper run.
How It Would Work
Given the current financial landscape in the National Hockey League, and in the sporting world in general, it is feasible to predict that Mike Hoffman might have to settle for a short-term, prove yourself deal for the 2020-21 season.
Think Taylor Hall‘s one-year, $8 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres, although Hoffman’s AAV will likely be a lot less.
Still, very few teams out there have the cap space to go and sign a player in the ilk of Hoffman, who could sign a contract in the region of $4-$5 million for one year.
However, the Columbus Blue Jackets are one team that could make a serious run at Hoffman, given that they currently have $9,225,875 in projected cap space according to CapFriendly.
Say if Columbus and Hoffman agree terms on a one-year, $4.5 million contract for the 2020-21 season, that would leave the Blue Jackets with some cap space left for the Trade Deadline, while they would be gaining a legitimate top-six offensive juggernaut who could make a real impact on this team.
While not in the same category as Artemi Panarin or Matt Duchene, Hoffman would bring some level of star power to Columbus and a one-year deal could be win-win for both parties.
After all, it would allow Hoffman to carve out a big year and put himself in line for a substantial payday the following offseason, while having one of the purest snipers in the entire National Hockey League on their roster would help the Columbus Blue Jackets remain a Playoff team at the very least.
It is a deal that makes a hell of a lot of sense for all concerned.