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Islanders surprisingly in on UFA Mike Hoffman and what that means

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 29: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Florida Panthers skates prior to the game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the BB&T Center on February 29, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. The Blackhawks defeated the Panthers 3-2 in the shootout. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 29: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Florida Panthers skates prior to the game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the BB&T Center on February 29, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. The Blackhawks defeated the Panthers 3-2 in the shootout. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders were in late for UFA sniper Mike Hoffman which might surprise a few and maybe disappoint a few more.

To some, Mike Hoffman was the perfect player to fix the New York Islanders woes at scoring goals. The 31-year-old winger is a clear top end goal scorer. With 29 goals in 69 games last season, Hoffman was on pace for another year with 30+ goals.

With his 28 power-play goals since 2018-19, only five players are more productive on the man-advantage than Hoffman. Those players – in order – are Pastrnak (37), Draisaitl (32), Ovechkin (31), Stamkos (29), and Point (28).

It’s easy to see why Isles fans wanted him. And according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Islanders were in on the former Florida Panthers winger up until late.

In On Hoffman

The day after Mike Hoffman signed a PTO with the St Louis Blues, Pierre LeBrun indicated that a few teams were in late for Hoffman (subscription required), and the Isles were one of those teams.

"I’m hearing that Columbus, Nashville, Montreal and the New York Islanders joined the Blues as teams who stayed on it to some degree."

Seeing the New York Islanders in on Hoffman was a surprise for me. Sure, Hoffman is the right type of player (pure goal scorer) for the Isles but with the type of cap hit he might command, even in a COVID economy, it didn’t seem like the Islanders could make that cap hit work under the ca ceiling.

Yes, the Islanders could make moves on the roster to free up space on the cap, but there’s no guarantee that the Islanders could make those moves. And that’s why the Islanders fell out of the Hoffman sweepstakes.

What this all means is that the Islanders clearly know where they need to improve. They need a goal scorer. Do they end up finding that guy in free agency? Not likely. There isn’t anyone left who scores as much as Hoffman does. So what that means is either the Isles explore the trade route or they just let some of the kids (like Oliver Wahlstrom) fill that need.

The Isles still have a lot of work to do before training camp opens on January 3, it’s clear GM Lou Lamoriello is taking the time he has to make the right move (or moves) for his club.

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