Looking at pending UFA’s, Mike Hoffman might just be the best fit for the New York Islanders in free agency 2020.
When looking at the New York Islanders as currently constructed, it’s abundantly clear that they need help in their top-six. What’s going to make that difficult is the number of RFA’s the Isles have to sign this year.
Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews are all due a new contract with a likely cap hit per year in the $18 million or more range. It’s not going to be easy to get all three of those guys signed and add to this team.
Let’s operate under the assumption that the Islanders are able to get those deals done, and they find themselves with some cap space to add a free agent. If you could add just one guy, at a realistic price, who would that be?
Well, Mike Hoffman likely makes the most sense. Hoffman is currently on the final year of a four-year $20.75 million contract ($5.19 million AAV). He’s a 30-year-old winger coming off a 29 goal season (69 games this year) and 36 goals in 2018-2019 with the Florida Panthers.
Adding someone who can pop in 30 goals is exactly what the Islanders need, but what would it cost to do that?
Looking at free agency last year, Mats Zuccarello signed for a five-year $30 million contract ($6 million AAV) at age 31 and Gustav Nyquist got four-years $22 million ($5.5 million AAV). In terms of length, five years seems right on the money for a player like Hoffman.
The AAV will likely be a tough higher than both of those players though. He puts up similar point production but is a better goal scorer so I think he’s going to get close to $7 million AAV.
That might seem like a lot with the Islanders cap situation but remember, they will likely have the option for an amnesty buyout or two with the lost revenue due to COVID-19. Amnesty buyout Andrew Ladd, Johnny Boychuk, and move Leo Komarov for a late-round pick to a team that needs to hit the cap floor and that’s $14.5 million in cap space that you didn’t previously have.
Hoffman – Barzal – Eberle
Lee – Nelson – Bailey
Beauvillier – Pageau – Bellows
Johnston – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Pelech – Pulock
Toews – Mayfield
Leddy – Dobson
The Islanders offense already looks miles improved. Putting Anders Lee and Josh Bailey back together on line two with Nelson in the middle makes a ton of sense. Hoffman can add a 30 goal threat to the top line that already has decent chemistry between Barzal and Eberle, while line three transforms into a more depth scoring line.
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The unknown cap situation is what makes predicting signings so difficult at this time, but come the start of free agency if the Islanders can find their way to Mike Hoffman that would be a big win for Lou Lamoriello.