In an offseason that has been quite slow, with many large restricted free agents (RFAs) still unsigned, rumors are always flying. Today, a new rumor popped up. Eklund, the owner of Hockeybuzz.com, reported that the Hawks are still looking to add, and the name on the other end of the rumor? Mike Hoffman.
Hawks looking to add…Hockeybuzz.com
The Hawks have also had some discussions about Puljujärvi, but I am told they really would like to grab Hoffman from the Panthers. Talks have “entered a second stage of sorts leading some to believe the chances of Hoffman landing in Chicago are better than 50%.”
So, the question is, why Hoffman? It’s clear this is a team that already has plenty of offense, even if some of the major contributors regress a tad bit. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome highlight the body of the scoring for the Blackhawks. Other key contributors include Brandon Saad and possibly the re-acquired Andrew Shaw. Both players will likely lead the depth scoring department for the Hawks this season. There are other possibilities to further bolster that depth scoring, such as Alexander Nylander, Dominik Kubalik, and possibly 2019 first-round pick Kirby Dach. So, once again, why Hoffman?
Well, Hoffman is no punk. He has recorded 56 points or more in each of the last four seasons, most recently putting up 70 points with the Panthers. He would be a great addition to the top six, but with a $5.1875M cap hit (via Puckpedia.com), the Blackhawks would have to free up a little more cap space. So, how could they do that?
Well, the “most frequent” answer is likely either trading defenseman Connor Murphy or winger Brandon Saad. Now, I personally don’t think trading Saad makes them a better team, but it’s the “most logical” move that it would take to acquire Hoffman. However, I’m not sure the Blackhawks want to part with Saad for, more likely than not, one year of Mike Hoffman.
Realistically, this is just smoke. Unless the Hawks can find a way to move some meaningful cap space and without hurting the roster too much, then I say go ahead and do it. It would be incredible if Bowman pulls this off. It would certainly signal that they’re in “compete” mode this year. But, like most rumors, I don’t expect anything to come of this. However, if Stan Bowman and his old friend Dale Tallon strike a deal, it could send some significant shockwaves through the NHL in late August/early September.
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