The trade deadline is just a week and a half away, and so far, not much has been happening. Nothing concrete, anyway; we do know that the Flames appear to have taken a keen interest in the Senators, and this time, they may be aiming a little higher than Curtis Lazar.
The Flames are in need of forward depth. Mike Hoffman can contribute, and with the Senators going nowhere fast, is among many of their roster pieces that could be for sale. Is it a match?
Who is Mike Hoffman?
Hoffman is a 28-year-old left-shot left wing/centre. Standing at 6’1, 180 lbs., Hoffman has played his entire career in Ottawa, becoming an NHL regular during the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season.
This season, he has 15 goals and 38 points in 55 games for the Senators, second in team scoring (he’d be fourth on the Flames), trailing Mark Stone by nine points; career-wise, he has 100 goals and 212 points in 315 games. He had a career high of 61 points in 74 games the previous season, and carries a cap hit of $5.1875 million until 2020.
He’s averaged 18:10 in ice time this season, Ottawa’s fourth highest played forward, which is where he’d fit on the Flames, as well. He’s their top powerplay player, receiving the most minutes and scoring the most with 16 points, and does not play on their penalty kill.
With a 5v5 CF of 48.68%, Hoffman is fourth among regular Senators in terms of possession. (Erik Karlsson is the only Senator regular above 50%, so that Hoffman is even close to being in the black speaks to being a good player on a bad team.) His offensive zone faceoffs clock in at 52.80%, third highest among regular Senators forwards.
Via Hockey Abstract, Hoffman has, without a doubt, been one of Ottawa’s best players:
Hoffman is a fit for the Flames in the sense that he’s a forward who can score, and while he doesn’t quite fit in with the under-25 group the Flames have, he is around Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik’s age. (Relatedly, he’s also a fit because he’s yet another Mike.) Signed for two seasons beyond this one, Hoffman wouldn’t be a rental player, either; the Flames would be adding to their roster for the next couple of years. His contract expires at the same time as Troy Brouwer and Frolik’s.
He may not, however, be the ideal fit. The Flames’ big weakness is on the right side, and that’s not a position Hoffman plays. Furthermore, his cap hit is a big add – he would be the Flames’ third highest paid forward, and fifth highest paid player – and the Flames have just a little over $2 million available in projected cap space. Ottawa would either have to retain part of Hoffman’s salary or take some back from the Flames; and if they do, in fact, trade Hoffman, it’s likely in part to shed salary.
What would it take to get him?
Normally, I would have said picks, young players, and highly evaluated prospects: you know, the usual. The Senators dealt their first round pick when trading for Matt Duchene; they protected it in case of a bottom 10 finish, which seems all but guaranteed, in which case they’ll lose their 2019 first round pick. The Flames don’t have a 2018 first round pick to give up, but they do have a 2019 one – but that might be getting ahead of themselves at that point.
The Flames have very little in the way of currency; no second round picks for the next couple of years at least complicates things. This is where young players and prospects come into play. Sam Bennett has had his struggles to start his NHL career, but he’s still only 21 years old, and probably a better bet to get back on track than, say, Lazar.
The Senators are also potentially on the verge of losing Erik Karlsson, and it so happens that the Flames have high end defensive prospects to spare, so any of them could be on the table, as well.
… But then, the Senators traded Dion Phaneuf (at 25% retained salary) and Nate Thompson to the Kings for Marian Gaborik (14 points in 30 games and with a $4.875 cap hit for the next three seasons after this one) and Nick Shore. So, who knows? Silver Seven Sens stresses the deal was a salary dumping measure, and such a deal with the Flames may be a bit tougher to pull off.
Hoffman has more value than Phaneuf – the Senators don’t even have to deal him this year – and a trade involving him is more likely to be an actual hockey trade. The Flames likely won’t be making a ton of trades, and getting Hoffman could stretch them to their limits of dealing futures.
What do you think? Should the Flames be going for Hoffman at all? And if yes, how much would you give up to get him? What would you do?