As the NHL playoffs are underway, I figured it would be appropriate to revisit the Eastern Conference Finals Team in a “Where They Are Now” type of piece. I’ll start by breaking down the forwards, and in my next piece, I’ll look at defense and goaltending. For the purpose of this series, I will only count players who played a minimum of 10 games that season.
This season would be a great one for Mike Hoffman with the Ottawa Senators, as he would pot the best numbers of his career up until that point. In 74 games, he was able to score 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points. Unfortunately for Hoffman, his stay in Ottawa would not last too much longer as the next season would see him feud with the team’s superstar and captain Erik Karlsson, and would see both players moved in separate trades in order to kickstart a multi-year rebuild. Hoffman would be traded to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Julius Bergman, Mikkel Boedker, and a 6th-round pick in 2020. Boedker would be the only piece from that trade that would play a role with the Senators up until this point, but the 6th round pick was used to select Phillip Daoust. Hoffman was immediately flipped to the Florida Panthers in exchange for three draft picks, a second, a fourth, and a fifth-round pick. Hoffman would play in Florida up until his contract would need to be extended and he would opt to test free agency, signing a PTO with the St Louis Blues. In Florida, Hoffman would play the best hockey of his career, reaching a career-high of 36 goals and 34 assists for 70 points in the 2018-19 season. Hoffman’s reputation would be tarnished due to the whole debacle with his former team captain. Hoffman would eventually see his way out of St Louis and sign a contract with the Montreal Canadiens, where he currently plays. He scored 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points in 67 games this season. It’s unfortunately been a downward spiral for the 33-year-old forward. Let’s hope he can revitalize his career and shake the reputation of being a tyrant in the lockerroom
I will try to keep my personal bias to a minimum for Kyle Turris. Turris is one of my all-time favorite players as he is the first professional hockey player I have met in my short life. Turris would score 27 goals in the 2016-17 season, which is still a career-high to this day as he has since retired at the end of last season. Turris would unfortunately not be re-signed in Ottawa and would be part of a mega deal that would land the Ottawa Senators Matt Duchene in a three-way trade. Turris would go to Nashville. He would start off great in Nashville before signing a 6-year contract extension, but by year two, things were not going as well for him and he would be ultimately bought out after his third year there. He would then make his way to the Edmonton Oilers for two seasons before calling it quits and retiring. In Edmonton, he would serve as a bottom 6 forward mainly, even seeing time as the team’s 13th forward.
Largely believed to be the team’s best forward, Mark Stone was just beginning to make things happen with the Ottawa Senators. After captain Erik Karlsson would be traded, Stone would be the fan favorite for the role, but things did not end up going that way. Stone would stay in Ottawa for two more seasons in which he would finish his Ottawa Senators tenure with 123 goals and 188 assists for 311 points in 316 games. He would be traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in a deal that would land the Senators Erik Brannstrom and a Second-Round pick. Stone would be the first of many stars that the Golden Knights would acquire every season as they hope to win the cup year after year, and would be named the team’s first captain in franchise history. Unfortunately for Stone, he’s been struggling with back injuries pretty much each of his five seasons with the Golden Knights, and up until this point, the closest he would come in his entire career to play a full season would be the 2020-21 COVID Shortened season in which he would play 55 of 56 games that year. Nonetheless, when Stone is healthy, he is one of the best defensive forwards hockey has ever seen and it is a crime that he has not won a Frank J Selke trophy yet.