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Mike Hoffman Will Join St. Louis Blues on PTO to Start NHL Training Camp

Mike Hoffman will join the St. Louis Blues on a professional tryout contract and will join the team when training camp begins on Jan. 3.

While the expectation was that forward Mike Hoffman would sign a lucrative deal in free agency, news on Sunday has proven otherwise, at least for now. Hoffman will join the St. Louis Blues on a professional tryout contract and will be a part of the team, looking for a contract when training camp begins on Jan. 3.

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There were rumors the Blues and Hoffman had been talking. But, the news of a PTO will come as a shock to many. Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic had recently reported: “I think the Blues have shown some interest in Hoffman and now with the Alex Steen news, perhaps there’s a fit” Stay Tuned.” It turned out the Blues were certainly in the mix.

It seems odd that Hoffman would join the Blues without some sort of framework of a deal in place. Andy Strickland reports, “It is believed that the St. Louis Blues and Hoffman have an understanding of what a one-year contract will look like.” He adds, “Once Steen/Tarasenko are placed on LTIR, and Dunn signed, they’ll be able to officially sign Mike Hoffman. Hearing Hoffman is taking less money to sign in St. Louis.”

Speculation was that Hoffman wanted $5.5 – $6 million on new deal. It is unclear how close to that he’ll get with the Blues. If the Blues can sign him coming out of this PTO, it will be because Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen (combined cap hit of $13.25 million) are expected to begin the season on long-term injured reserve. NHL insider Elliotte Friedman writes, “STL has Steen/Tarasenko going on LTIR…I can see this being smart cap gymnastics.”

But, if the Blues can make it work, Hoffman will go a long way to replacing the lost offense that was inevitably going to come with Tarasenko and Steen out of the lineup.

Mike Hoffman NHL free agent
Mike Hoffman NHL free agent

Is This Final With the Blues?

The Fourth Period had reported that the Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators were interested. It appears the Blues have won the day. We’ll see what it costs to keep him, or if another team comes calling with more money now that it’s known Hoffman is nearly no longer available.

Hoffman can technically still be signed by another team while on a PTO. Widely considered the top remaining unrestricted free agent, there are plenty of teams with more cap space than the Blues and organizations that won’t have to do as much salary cap space juggling to make things fit.

Hoffman has been good for 25-plus goals in five of the past six seasons, including a career-high 36 in 2018-19. His joining the Blues can’t be out of lack of interest from other clubs.

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