Nashville Predators: Top Free Agent Mike Hoffman Remains Available

Florida Panthers left wing Mike Hoffman (68) Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Florida Panthers left wing Mike Hoffman (68) Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

With more clarity to next season coming into the picture, the Nashville Predators have plenty of cap space to make another move.

The natural question presents itself with the Nashville Predators, and that’s if they should stick with what they have or make a push for another free agent addition.

You have top available free agent Mike Hoffman still out there for the taking, and interest will probably start to grow as the new season approaches.

Hoffman is a very reliable offensive threat and a regular 30-plus goal scorer. He would instantly boost the top-six for the Predators, which has its question marks that make you temper expectations for this team.

Weighing the pros and cons of Hoffman

Per, Hoffman has the third-highest previous year cap hit out of available unrestricted free agents. Hoffman’s cap hit from last season came in just shy of $5.2M, which probably pushed away a lot of suitors early in the free agency process.

Interestingly enough, former Predators winger Mikael Granlund also remains untaken, and his previous cap hit comes in at $5.75M. Both players are probably going to take a hit and see their price go down this late in the process.

As for Hoffman, the Predators should be considered a top target to land him just due to how much available cap space they have, which is $12.9M. Only the LA Kings and Arizona Coyotes have more projected cap space.

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If the Predators were to land Hoffman in the coming days, then they’d be getting a guy who can fit right in on the second line with Matt Duchene. Suddenly the top-six looks a lot more potent offensively for the Predators with Hoffman and Duchene playing together.

A one-year deal for the Predators to get Hoffman around the price that he was at previous seasons would be a team-friendly deal and worth the risk.

Hoffman would obviously shift the projected starting lineup for the Predators rather dramatically. It might even mean that rising prospect Eeli Tolvanen doesn’t get into the starting lineup initially, or it could keep a player like Yakov Trenin or even veteran Calle Jarnkrok out of the starting lineup.

Hoffman is going to provide you with another offensive weapon for a team that’s lacking an abundance offensive weapons. Many of the Predators’ offseason moves has been for defense and not offense.

However, Hoffman comes as a major defensive liability. And there’s no guarantee that he’s going to thrive in a new system and once again produce a 30-goal pace.

Do the Predators really need to reach for an aging free agent who won’t be cheap and isn’t going to help them fix their defensive issues from last season?

If Hoffman were to dramatically drop in offensive production, much like recent Predators free agents have done then this move could blow up in the face of GM David Poile.

Poile is entering this season somewhat on the hot seat as many of his recent moves haven’t worked out. Reaching for a player like Hoffman does carry some considerable risks, and Poile might be more willing to stick with what he has and save that cap space.

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I don’t see Poile and the Predators pulling the trigger on Hoffman, even though they have more than enough money to do so and he would boost the second line. They would’ve already done it by now, and training camp is now just weeks away assuming the NHL and NHLPA vote to agree on the deal in place.

Hoffman remains an enticing free agent that’s still out there, but the Predators should stand tall with what they have and see how it shakes out in what will be another odd NHL season.