St. Louis Blues Might Miss On Mike Hoffman Due To Tampa Bay

Mike Hoffman (68) against the St. Louis Blues Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Hoffman (68) against the St. Louis Blues Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues are always trying to improve their roster, even when it seems as though their salary situation is tight. This time, they might miss out due to another team.

When the initial flurry of free agent activity came and went and the St. Louis Blues signed Torey Krug to replace Alex Pietrangelo, it seemed like they were done until the season kicked off. However, with the carrot of Mike Hoffman still dangling out there, the Blues name keeps getting mentioned in the mix.

There are multiple issues with that. First is how much money Hoffman is seeking. Second is how much the Blues are willing to spend and for how many years.

Hoffman seems to be included in the Blues talk more on a prove-it style deal where he takes less money for one season in order to get more later on. If he would be willing to take that kind of deal, there is no reason St. Louis should not attempt it.

Yet, there is another wrinkle to the story. While several teams likely have interest in Hoffman, including the Blues, a recent injury situation might push those teams toward the back of the line.

The Tampa Bay Lightning just learned they will be without the services of Nikita Kucherov for the entire 2021 season. Though Tampa has just as many salary cap issues as the Blues, the injury clears up a large chunk of cap room if the Lightning want to make a run at Hoffman – Kucherov’s AAV is $9.5 million.

As Jamie Rivers pointed out on his Twitter, this simple fact might put the Blues further back in line for Hoffman’s services. That is not to say they are out of the mix, but on the surface it would appear the Lightning would be able to offer more money and they are just as much a championship contender as the Blues. In fact, you could argue the “Central” Division is Tampa’s to lose while the Blues are merely one of three main challengers for the West Division.

But, the reality is that nobody really knows what Hoffman is looking for. There were predictions when free agency opened, but when he went without a team, Hoffman and his camp had to alter their own expectations.

How much those expectations changed, coupled with how much teams are willing to spend will have a huge impact on his potential contract. The main current wrinkle for any team looking to sign Hoffman is whether he would like a multi-year contract.

Teams like Tampa and St. Louis probably are not trying to bring him in long term, at least not initially. Both Kucherov and Vladimir Tarasenko will return for their respective teams at some point, so neither team is looking to bring in a veteran forward when there is no way they are trying to unload those pricey contracts.

Blues fans should want Hoffman on their team. He’s got six-straight seasons of 20-plus goals and five-straight of 50-plus points.

Those were point totals on some bad-to-mediocre teams. Imagine what he could pull off in an environment where he was not the focal point of the offense and the totals might see a bump playing with the depth of centers the Blues have.

I just still do not see the Blues going all in on Hoffman. Though his services are good, there seems like there could be a slight bidding war, even if it’s just for one year.

Next. Blues have their 2021 schedule. dark

We will see. Hoffman apparently wants to get signed and into a city before training camp stars for all teams, which is January 3.