Free agency has not been kind to many forwards, and a market for Mike Hoffman appears slow to materialize.
Entering the offseason, Hoffman was the highest goal-scoring forward available and the second overall forward after Taylor Hall. But six days after the opening of free agency, Hoffman remains unsigned.
So, what’s the deal?
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman appeared on NHL Network on Thursday and shared an update on Hoffman and the forward market as a whole.
Now Hoffman, I believe, has gone kind of back and forth with Nashville. There was interest in Montreal before (Tyler) Toffoli signed. I think Boston — and the two other teams too that have been looking for forwards and have been circling around a lot of the same guys like (Mikael) Granlund too, have been Carolina and Columbus.
Now, one thing I was told is that some of these players might just decide to say, ‘OK, I’m pulling back and I’m going to wait for a team to decide it’s going to make me a serious offer. Because maybe the best thing I could do is put pressure on the team and withhold my services.’
So I think these guys are grinding away, I’d hesitate to put a timeline on it, but there’s a bunch of teams that are interested, they’re not offering a ton and the players have started to say in a couple of these case, ‘You know what? I’m going to wait and force some of these teams to come to me.‘
Friedman’s remarks also come after TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported the Bruins as being among the “most interested” teams in Hoffman.
There isn’t even a hard date set yet for the start of the season, so there really is no rush for any of these guys to just sign somewhere. Arbitration hearings start soon though, and that most certainly will clarify the cap picture for many teams.
So even if we don’t see some movement now on players like Hoffman, one has to think the conclusion of arbitration will speed things up.