The New York Islanders are a flawed team. Regardless of whether they manage to clinch a playoff berth this year or not, that statement remains true. Mike Hoffman could, however, be a potential remedy for that in 2020.
The reality is all NHL teams are flawed to varying degrees and in different areas. It’s the teams who can best fill-in those gaps, play to their strengths and minimize their weaknesses, who are successful. The New York Islanders have had trouble doing just that for the better part of three months. Could Mike Hoffman, a 2020 UFA, help to fix that?
There had always been questions about how replicable the Islanders’ brand of playoff-style hockey was in a long-form 82 game season. The question persisted last year, even as the team defied everyone’s expectations over the course of a 103-point regular season, ultimately making it to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But right now we’re seeing what happens when
. It’s been a frustrating run. A six-game losing streak in the season’s most important stretch, with three of those six losses coming against teams currently outside the playoff bubble.
The solution is adding talent. Specifically, adding scoring talent to the wings, the Islanders’ least-productive group. With the team’s center corps locked down for the foreseeable future, Lou Lamoriello absolutely needs to try acquiring a free agent winger with goal-scoring capabilities again this summer.
When I asked him on Twitter, The Athletic’s Arthur Staple said Mike Hoffman would top his list of pending UFA targets in 2020.
Hoffman, who turns 31 in November, looks like an ideal candidate. As noted by Staple, Hoffman is a shooter. He’s registered over 200 shots on goal in each season since 2014-15 when he put up 199. He’s a perennial 20-goal scorer, with the ability to reach 30, as he did last year and likely will again this season.
Hoffman has never signed a contract longer than four years in term. If Lou Lamoriello could entice him to sign a shorter deal, he could serve as a perfect bridge to Kieffer Bellows or Oliver Wahlstrom‘s eventual inclusion in the Islanders top-six forward group.
Regardless of where this New York Islanders team ends up this season, it is absolutely imperative that next year’s iteration of the team features more skill on the front-end. Hoffman could be one potential solution.
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Who else would you like to see Lou Lamoriello pursue in free agency? Let us know in the comments section.