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Renewed Urgency for Free Agents Like Mike Hoffman

With an tentative agreement in place between the NHL and NHLPA and with time running out, there is urgency on free agents like Mike Hoffman.

According to Sportsnet hockey insider Chris Johnston, “There’s increased urgency to discussions with the NHL’s remaining unrestricted free agents today.” Essentially, what he’s saying is that with the new NHL and NHLPA agreement in place, free agents who have yet to come off the board will need to find homes in the next couple of weeks and the teams that are interested are hitting the phones.

Related: Mathew Barzal and Pierre-Luc Dubois: Contract Negotiations Heating Up

Johnston adds:

Mike Hoffman, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Sami Vatanen and Travis Hamonic are among those still on the open market with training camps set to open two weeks tomorrow.

While there’s been tons of speculation about where these players will wind up, Hoffman seems to be the player most often discussed. His name has traveled around a lot during this offseason as he’s easily the top free agent still unsigned, having scored 19 more points last season than the next closest player looking to land a deal. But, he’s also looking for between $5.5 and $6.5 million per season. That’s not an easy pill for teams to swallow.

The Ottawa Sun recently noted that the Boston Bruins would be a perfect fit and that he could score 30 goals there by accident. That doesn’t mean teams like the Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers are out of the equation. According to Emily Sadler of Sportsnet, all of those teams have had conversations about bringing Hoffman in.

Since he’s not opposed to a short-term deal, there will be a few teams mentioned over the coming days. It’s simply a matter of who can make room and juggle their rosters the most effectively.

Time Is Running Out

What we do know is that time is running out. With two weeks to training camps and less than one month to the proposed start of free agency, players will need to know where they’re going and prepare for whatever hurdles might slow them down to joining their new teams.

Perhaps some player movement will start to happen the second the NHL discloses the full details on the new taxi squad rules. When teams know how much extra they can carry about how those rules will work, it could open up new windows of opportunity.

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