Despite a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday evening, the St. Louis Blues were missing their most recent addition Mike Hoffman. Of course, Hoffman was the biggest forward on the UFA market for several months before signing a PTO with the Blues. That try out eventually earned him a one-year contract with an agreed upon AAV of $4 million.
The build-up and excitement over landing the 31-year-old sniper was tempered on Wednesday when a work visa issue held him out of the Blues opener. The issue has since been settled, and it will now be interesting to see where Hoffman slides into an already deep forward crew. The left-handed winger can play his off wing so could line up with Robert Thomas at pivot, and Jaden Schwartz on the left flank.
No matter where he plays or how he is used, the Kitchener native is a welcome addition. He immediately adds some finish and well known to be more of a sharpshooter than playmaker. During his last six seasons Hoffman has been a lock to score 20 goals and once put away 36 during his first season with the Florida Panthers in 2018-19. He was easily on pace to reach the 30-goal mark again last season, but instead finished with 29 before it abruptly ended.
Big Blues Changes
St. Louis has made some significant changes over the past 12 months including the loss of their captain and star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (Vegas) during free agency. The Blues also made a blue line addition prior to last years deadline when they acquired 31-year-old Marco Scandella from the Montreal Canadiens. However, they also landed the second ranked free agent defenseman this offseason in former Boston Bruin Torey Krug.
The undrafted, undersized Krug has made quite a career for himself since signing an entry-level free agent contract out of Michigan State University in 2012. The 29-year-old instantly adds offence and during a normal season is usually good from anywhere between 45-55 points off the back end. While losing your captain and number one defenseman stings, GM Doug Armstrong did a great job of back filling the loss of Pietrangelo with Krug.
St. Louis returns to action this evening for the second game of the back-to-back opener at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. The Blues are hoping that Hoffman can help them earn another decisive victory over a very strong Colorado Avalanche squad.
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