Forward Mike Hoffman, the best available free agent this offseason in terms of goalscoring, finally managed to land a deal. Well, sort of.
The St. Louis Blues announced on Monday that the team signed Hoffman to a professional tryout agreement. This will enable the 30-year-old player to enter training camp with the Blues but it doesn’t guarantee him a contract for the 2020-21 NHL season.
Despite the nature of the deal, it is highly likely that Hoffman will spend the next season in St. Louis. The team has around $4 million in cap space that will likely be enough to sign the veteran to a deal before opening night.
Mike Hoffman entered free agency after delivering a solid 2019-20 campaign with the Florida Panthers. In 69 games throughout the regular season, he scored 29 goals and dished 30 assists for a total of 59 points.
Players with this kind of production usually don’t have a problem landing a long-term deal, but the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic made teams hesitant towards making a big commitment to Hoffman. The player himself admitted early in the offseason that he was receiving less than satisfactory offers.
This is why the tryout with the Blues, although surprising, makes sense.
If Hoffman ends up signing a deal for 2020-21, he will get a chance to play a prominent role on a playoff contender. With another good campaign, he can increase his value even further and then enter the free agency again when the landscape is expected to be more beneficial towards free agents.