The 31-year-old is coming off another productive season that saw him score 29 goals and 30 assists in 69 games with the Panthers. It was the fifth time in the past six seasons that he has scored at least 27 goals and he is tied for 16th in goals scored by any player in the past six seasons. Hoffman is particularly adept at power-play production and has scored 28 times with the man advantage over the past two years, tied for fifth in the league.
So how did it come to this? The UFA market was not kind to wingers looking for long-term, high-cost deals; Taylor Hall had to settle for a one-year, $ 8 million contract with Buffalo Tyler Toffoli opted for a multi-year agreement but had to accept a pay cut to do so with Montreal. Hoffman has indicated his willingness to do like Hall and sign for a year, but the more expensive offers never really materialized.
That said, this is not a typical PTO deal. The Blues will have some flexibility in the salary cap with Alex Steen (outside for the year) and Vladimir Tarasenko (out for several months) towards the LTIR, but in order for Saint-Louis to make the best use of the ceiling space that these placements will provide, they’ll want to wait to move them there until the start of the season. Hoffman will likely sign a one-year deal once the season begins for a much higher price than a deal close to the league low, as players who win deals with PTOs typically do.
Saint-Louis has yet to recruit the defender of the FRG Vince Dunn but the approach for him could very well be the same, wait for the LTIR placements to be formalized, then sign the contract in this space.
The free agent market has been interesting for Hoffman, but it looks like he will eventually get his one-year contract with St. Louis being the team to give it to him. He’ll just have to wait a few more weeks for that to happen.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.