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Should the Blues re-sign Hoffman?

June 16, 2021, 11:20 AM ET [1 Comments]
John Gove
St Louis Blues Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
There is no question St. Louis suffers from a lack of depth at the left-wing position. With two of their bigger name LW's (Jaden Schwartz & Mike Hoffman) set to be unrestricted free agents this offseason, the Blues could find themselves with many wholes to fill on the left side.

My opinion on Schwartz tends to change almost daily. I'm leaning towards St. Louis doing what they can to re-sign as long as the AAV is similar, maybe even slightly less, to the $5.35 million on the prior deal.

The bigger question mark for me is whether the Blues should entertain the idea of re-signing Hoffman.

For a large portion of the abbreviated 2020-21 season, there were many concerns regarding Hoffman's fit on this current Blues squad. It is old news at this point, but St. Louis failed at utilizing Hoffman in the ways he has proven to be most productive.

While with Florida and Ottawa before that, it was clear that his bread and butter was on the powerplay. In 2019-20, Hoffman averaged 3:25 a game on the man-advantage, producing 11 goals and 10 assists. The season prior, he averaged 3:31, recording 17 goals and 18 assists. This year, Hoffman averaged just 2:03, a drastic decline from previous campaigns. As the year dwindled, he finally started to see more special teams time. As a result, of course, he became a more effective player, registering 17 power-play points.

With a player such as Hoffman, there is no mystery in the kind of guy a team is getting. He is an offensive-minded scored that demonstrates some of his best work on the man-advantage. He is less effective five-on-five and does not accrue more than 15 to 17 minutes a night.

Although it is hard to argue that St. Louis would not love to have someone that can score at the rate Hoffman can on their roster, the question remains whether he can fit into the current construction of this roster, considering all aspects.

After agreeing to a one-year deal during strange times last season, the 31-year-old (32 in November) will certainly look for a contract with more term this time around. Whether it is with St. Louis or not, he will likely get it. Chances are Hoffman will also search for some pay-raise as well. Again, one he will probably receive somewhere.

Hypothetically, let us imagine Hoffman asks for a four-year deal, averaging $5 million to $5.5 million a season. If the Blues were to commit that amount of term and money towards the winger, one would assume the intentions of placing him in a top-six role with a spot on PP1. Placing him on the top powerplay unit should be a no-brainer at this point, however; do does St. Louis believe in him enough to entrust Hoffman with more five-on-five time?

In truth, the organization is justified to have reservations about Hoffman in an expanded role. Ideally, St. Louis would prefer to play him on the third line and PP1. Unfortunately, the salary cap prevents the team from committing that kind of capital towards someone they cannot count on to accrue more playing time full-strength. If Armstrong and the Blues do not feel Hoffman can be a legitimate top-six asset, they would be better off using that cap space elsewhere.

In a perfect situation, the Blues would love to find a way to keep Mike Hoffman in St. Louis. The reality is that it appears challenging to make all the puzzle pieces fit to make it work. With some serious work to do this offseason, it is hard to imagine the franchise providing him with the contract he will likely seek and obtain on the open market.
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