2. How will Mike Hoffman fit on offense?
Mike Hoffman is now a member of the St. Louis Blues.
Boy, even now, that feels weird to say.
While some have called foul on general manager Doug Armstrong for taking advantage of the PTO to secure Hoffman’s rights when his team couldn’t afford his eventual contract before placing players on long-term IR, I personally can’t knock a savvy wheeler and dealer for taking advantage of the system in place to make his team better.
Because make no mistake about it, Hoffman clearly makes the Blues better and opted to sign with the team over other, presumably more (initially) lucrative offers because he loved what Craig Berube has going on.
He actually said as much to reporters on Tuesday, telling the gathered media (as per NHL.com),
"“They’re very structured. It’s pretty straightforward. It takes little bit obviously to get used to and knowing your routes so you’re not thinking on the ice, you’re just reacting, but it’s coming. It’s starting to feel good. I really like the group here. We’re extremely deep, got a good back end and obviously good goaltending. You add all those things together and you should end up being pretty successful.”"
So, clearly, the Blues wanted Hoffman to play a top-six triggerman role next to either Brayden Schenn or Ryan O’Reilly, and Hoffman wanted to play next to do the very same after a successful two-year tenure with the Florida Panthers, but will it actually work?
Will the Blues appreciate Hoffman’s free-shooting style, or will he initially struggle to fit into the Blues’ scheme in a season without a massive runway to get things right with the live bullets flying?
Needless to say, but I’ll do it anyway; this is the (second) biggest question the Blues have to answer heading into 2020-21. But what, you may ask, is the first? Come on; I think we both know the answer to that one.