Sens forward Mike Hoffman got off to an incredible start to the season, and even led the Senators in goals all year long. His 27 tallies are a mark to be proud of, however if you look at his usage late in the season, there is a chance that Hoffman could be used as a trade chip this off-season.
Hoffman played at around 12 minutes TOI/G late in the season—a low mark for him. He found himself on the 4th line in the late regular season and during the playoffs. The Senators aren’t deep on the left side, as past Hoffman just Milan Michalek and Clarke MacArthur are found as guys who can play in a top 6 role. However, each have had their own inconsistencies in the past.
For that reason, I’d be hesitant to trade Hoffman. However, it’s easy to see how he may be a smart trading piece if the Senators are looking to capitalize on his value.
An Opportune Time To Move?
Mike Hoffman is a pending RFA, he needs a new contract. He’s coming off a season that painted him as an all-star and with the skills being there, Hoffman’s value is likely at an all-time high.
Bryan Murray continues to search for a top 6 forward, but often neglects the fact that the Senators already have 6 of those in Hoffman, Stone, Ryan, MacArthur, Zibanejad, Turris, and a fill-in guy in Michalek. Murray probably wants to do another “Bobby Ryan type deal” by trading a package to bring in someone they view can be consistent on the team’s top line.
If that is the case, perhaps Hoffman is a main piece in that package. With Ryan and Stone on Ottawa’s right side, and Ryan having the ability to play either side, a replacement on either side is possible. Let’s say Hoffman is a big piece in that deal. If he is, the Senators are giving up a (mostly) one-way player with some of the best speed in the league. Still, a hard piece to move.
The “Harder Forward”
While Hoffman is a flashy player, and the Senators have tended to shy away from those, he still remains a top 6 forward with skill. Bryan Murray describes the ideal addition as being a “harder forward”, and that’s not Hoffman. If the Senators are able to find a package that works to acquire that forward, then sure, trading Hoffman makes sense.
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But what the Senators should not do is actively seek to trade Mike Hoffman. He’s a valuable piece and one that led your team in scoring. His speed alone will generate chances and the fact that his game benefited each of Bobby Ryan and Mika Zibanejad in terms of possession shows his value to the team.
So, hold on to Hoffman. Hope a good contract is negotiated, but if you can find a package that makes sense, Mike Hoffman is probably the easiest piece to move in the Senators’ current top 6. Because, let’s face it.. no one wants Bobby Ryan’s contract and Mika Zibanejad and Mark Stone are nearly untouchable.
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