After losing Torey Krug, the Boston Bruins need a goal scorer and they’re running out of time to secure one. Boston’s ability to rack up points will be further damaged by both David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand missing the season’s opening while recovering from offseason surgeries.
The Bruins have already missed out on potential deals with Taylor Hall and Tyler Toffoli. They have yet to make a deal with current Bruins Jake DeBrusk and Zdeno Chara.
With around $7 million in cap space left, the Bruins need to play their cards carefully if they want a serious run at the Stanely Cup in the upcoming 2020-21 season.
What Mike Hoffman Would Do for the Bruins
Mike Hoffman made his NHL debut with the Ottawa Senators in the 2011-12 season. After seven seasons with Ottawa, he headed south to play two seasons for the Florida Panthers.
During the last six seasons, Hoffman has consistently contributed more than 40 points per season, with the 2018-19 season being a career-high of 70 points. As a shoot first and ask questions later player, signing Hoffman would make a significant difference in the current Bruins lineup.
Hoffman is open to a one-year deal, and he won’t be unreasonably expensive either. If the Bruins could secure a one-year contract with Hoffman, they may be able to do so without using up the rest of their salary cap space.
What Happens to DeBrusk, Chara?
Trying to work a deal with Hoffman might be the final piece holding up offers for DeBrusk and Chara.
DeBrusk has played well for the Bruins over the last three seasons, but the question is whether or not he has played well enough. DeBrusk has been inconsistent, and with only three NHL seasons under his belt, it’s hard to know what his future seasons will look like.
DeBrusk was disappointing during the playoffs this past season, with only four goals and no assists. While he has performed better in past seasons, the Bruins should be wary of taking a risk on someone who can’t guarantee them a high level of performance. This is especially true when you consider that even at his best, DeBrusk still hasn’t shown the kind of numbers that Boston is looking for right now.
Many would love to see Chara come back to the Bruins for another season. However, the longer the negotiations drag on, the less likely it is he’s back on Boston’s blue line.
Chara would bring some depth to the Bruins defense, which so far is extremely young and inexperienced as a whole. Unfortunately, his numbers for points aren’t much better than DeBrusk’s. Goal scoring may not be Chara’s prime directive as a defenseman, but the Bruins really need a goal-scoring powerhouse right now, and that isn’t him.
Boston’s Next Moves
The Bruins need to do whatever they can to get a player who can give their offense some much-needed punch. They need someone who can get the puck in the net over and over and over again, and they need to do it within their current salary cap space. This is no easy feat.
There are two likely scenarios for how this situation will play out.
If the Bruins Can Sign Hoffman
If the Bruins can sign Hoffman, they will likely use the rest of their cap space to make a deal with DeBrusk. This means Chara will be set loose. After that, they may trade DeBrusk to improve their chances at the Stanley Cup even more.
If the Bruins Can’t Sign Hoffman
On the other side of things, if the Bruins can’t sign Hoffman, they’re looking at a similar scenario, but the desperation level will be a lot higher.
We will likely see DeBrusk get signed, but don’t expect him to stick around. Boston may keep him just to turn around and trade him. Boston will also have to seriously consider other free agents to make sure they’re fully covering their bases.
Other Possible Free Agents
If a deal can’t be made with Hoffman, a few other decent candidates are still on the market that the Bruins could afford to make deals with.
Dominik Kahun, most recently played for the Buffalo Sabres and has put up some decent numbers in his young career.
At 25, without ever landing solidly with any team, he could be a good addition to the Bruins’ offensive lineup.
Anthony Duclair of the Ottawa Senators is another player who has been bounced around from team to team. While his numbers from some seasons aren’t anything to scoff at, he has just as many off years, which sheds light on his numerous trades. Duclair would be a pretty big gamble.
Carl Soderberg, originally a Bruin, could be a great fit for the current team and their needs. Most recently, he played one season for the Arizona Coyotes after four seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. In his eight NHL seasons, he has scored 30-50 points in all but two seasons.
It’s Crunch Time for Boston
No matter which way you look at Boston’s roster, they simply don’t have what they need to have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup for the 2020-21 season.
Related: Brad Marchand – Hall of Fame Worthy?
Signing Hoffman would be a great move for Boston, and they should be doing whatever they can to make something happen there. He would provide some scoring power to get them through this season, and an affordable one-year deal gives them the option to reassess for next season. Hoffman is a consistent player who produces results, making him a very low-risk, high-reward option for Boston.
Without Hoffman, Boston should be looking at the other free agents still available and trying to work a really great trade for DeBrusk.
Katherine Ripley is a lifelong hockey fan and native of New England. A former snowboard coach, she now spends her time designing websites and writing. Katherine covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers.