There’s still no news on what Mike Hoffman will do in NHL free agency but there is a bit of an update as to who he’s got his list narrowed down to, or at least which two teams are still in the running. While franchises like the LA Kings have been tossed around as possible options, it seems to be that the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets are the two favorites.
Bleacher Report: “On Thursday, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported during an appearance on NHL Network that the Blue Jackets remain ‘very interested’ in free agents Mike Hoffman and Mikael Granlund, two of the top players still available on the market.” #CBJ— CBJ Coverage (@NHLColumbus) November 20, 2020
This Mike Hoffman decision might go all the way down to the wire. It could be a last-minute add for a hockey club that puts a player on LTIR and then has the salary cap space to add his top-six scoring ability and come close to the rumored between $5 and $6 million per season he’s asking for. That said, both the Blue Jackets and the Predators have the space to do something now.
As per a story by Bleacher Report: “On Thursday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported during an appearance on NHL Network that the Blue Jackets remain ‘very interested’ in free agents Mike Hoffman and Mikael Granlund, two of the top players still available on the market.” This is interesting because, not only does it suggest that the Blue Jackets feel they have room to add Hoffman, but they’re also eyeing another free agent to come with him.
Meanwhile, as part of a mailbag segment, Pro Hockey Rumors noted that Hoffman said he’s willing to take a one-year deal somewhere and that if he ultimately accepts a contract worth around $4.5 million, Nashville looks “like a strong fit.” They add that the Predators have the money and the roster spot to fill and that Hoffman would be a “huge boost to a power play that wasn’t very good a year ago.”
Obviously, these are not the only two franchises in the mix and there could be a lot going on behind the scenes we don’t know about. If it becomes clear that Hoffman isn’t going to get what he’s asking for in terms of money, why not open the door to other franchises that are immediate contenders?
The Predators and Blue Jackets are both going to be fringe playoff teams next season. Hoffman might want to look to a club that gives him a good chance to get in.