The Boston Bruins find themselves right in the thick of the East Division playoff picture with the April 12 NHL trade deadline right around the corner.
Rumors have linked a number of players in potential trades to Boston. We’ll examine a few possible Bruins trade targets and offer a verdict on whether the team should make the move. Next up: St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman.
The St. Louis Blues aren’t sellers at the trade deadline, but they seem to be making clear they have no use for Mike Hoffman.
The shot-happy winger was one of the top free agents this offseason, but the forward market cratered, leaving Hoffman to sign with the Blues on a PTO before it was converted to a one-year, $4 million deal.
Already healthy scratched a few times this season, Hoffman, like the Blues as a team, has underachieved and he’s a pending unrestricted free agent once again.
But he’s been considered a fit for the Bruins before, let’s see if he is again.
Here are the details.
Player: Mike Hoffman
Position: Left wing (can center in a pinch)
2020-21 stats: Nine goals, 12 assists
Contract status: Pending UFA with $4 million cap hit
Have they already been linked to the Bruins?: Not since last offseason, when he was a free agent
He was never a great system fit for the Blues, which is why it was perplexing that he went there on a one-year, prove-it deal. For a team like Boston, that might inspire confidence that a change of scenery will get him back to the goal-scoring aficionado he has been throughout his career.
Vintage Hoffman is a guy who will shoot the puck like a madman, find the back of the net often, and when he doesn’t, he’s at least creating chances for teammates by regularly getting pucks to the net.
He historically has been an underwhelming, if occasionally lazy, defensive player. That’s more forgivable when putting up 55-plus points per season, a pace Hoffman is not currently on.
It also sounds like there might be a good bit of interest in the 31-year-old, somewhat understandably so. But the last thing the Bruins should be doing is getting into a bidding war for a pending UFA on a down year offensively who has never been a reliable player defensively.
If the Bruins can get Hoffman for a mid-round pick or two (something like the 2019 trade for Marcus Johansson), then by all means, yes. The risk would far outweigh the reward. But it seems like there might be substantial-enough interest in Hoffman to elevate the price, which would make him way too risky — and unlikely — of an addition.