Hoffman Signing a Win for Senators

Ottawa Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion has continued his busy off-season this week by signing restricted free agent Mike Hoffman to a four-year extension and avoiding salary arbitration for a second straight season. The deal will pay Hoffman an AAV of $5.1875 million and will run through the end of the 2019-20 NHL season.

The former 2009 fifth round pick is coming off his second full season in the NHL has proven to be a key piece for the Ottawa Senators. In his 192 NHL, regular season and playoff games played, he has 116 points (60 goals, 56 assists).

Considering the price around the NHL for 20+ goal scorers the Senators did quite well with this extension by not over committing on term or dollars for their leading goal scorer from the past two seasons. The price for a proven goal scorer in the NHL is high, on July 1, we saw a 30-goal scorer in Loui Eriksson sign a six-year $36million contract with the Vancouver Canucks, so this Hoffman deal looks like a win for Ottawa.

Boucher and Hoffman Reunited

The deal is also a win for Hoffman, who will be reunited with a coach he had tremendous success with in junior. Hoffman played the 2008-09 season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL where he was coached by current Senators head coach Guy Boucher. During that season, Drummondville won the QMJHL championship and Mike Hoffman really elevated his game. In that championship season, he had a career-high 129 points in 85 regular season, playoff and Memorial Cup games. The Senators are hoping that this chemistry between Boucher and Hoffman will translate to the NHL. Speaking after the Senators announced Boucher as their new head coach, Hoffman was excited to see Boucher behind the bench in Ottawa, saying to the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan “Me and him had a good relationship in junior. We won a championship together, then kind of moved on. You never know if you’re ever going to even see him or have him coach you again, then look what happens. We’re both here, at the NHL level. I’m looking forward to having him behind the bench and leading us”

Turning a New Page

Hoffman’s ice time over the last two seasons varied under former head coach Dave Cameron, who came under sharp criticism by fans. There were times when Cameron would defend his decision to not play Hoffman for parts of a game because of the way he played in the defensive zone, saying at the time to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, “It’s performance-based now. You always make your decision based on that game. When Mike plays fast, he’s effective. A lot of times when you bench a guy it’s not just so much what they’re doing, other guys are on their game.” This is an opportunity for Hoffman to turn a new page and get a fresh start with his new NHL head coach. Many fans and analysts will be watching to see if Hoffman will be given more ice time and if that increase in ice time will translate into more goals and allow Hoffman to reach the 30 goal mark for the first time in his NHL career.

Senators Top-Six Forwards

With Hoffman re-signing long-term, per General Fanager the Senators now have their top-six forwards under contract for at least the next two NHL seasons. This group consists of some great talent in Stone, Hoffman, Ryan, MacArthur, Brassard and Turris. MacArthur missed the majority of the last season due to injury, but all signs are pointing to his return to the lineup in October (National Post). Earlier this off-season the Senators traded Mika Zibanejad to the New York Rangers in exchange for Derick Brassard. Brassard’s addition gives the Senators two top line centers, the depth they have been missing to compete for a playoff position.With a healthy MacArthur, a proven center in Brassard and Hoffman re-signed, the Senators have a top six that if healthy, will compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.