Multiple media sources, including NBC Sports Bay Area’s Marcus White, have connected the dots on a potential blockbuster trade between the San Jose Sharks and the Ottawa Senators in advance of the NHL February 26th trade deadline.
The player being courted and sought after? Sens speedster Mike Hoffman. The 28-year-old Hoffman has 10 goals and 28 points in 40 games for the struggling Senators and put up a career high 61 points just last season. He has two seasons left on a contract that pays him an annual salary of just over $5.1 million, and the Sharks have plenty of cap space to fit him into their mix comfortably.
There’s no question that Hoffman would be a perfect addition to a Sharks roster that has been starved for goals this season. As White points out, Hoffman has struggled at times this season, but he’s due for a goal scoring spike.
Hoffman’s only scored on seven percent of his shots this season, compared to 12.3 percent over the last three seasons. He’s actually shooting a career-high 3.37 shots per game, and is due for a scoring spike once his finishing catches up to his shot volume.
He’s a proven goal scorer with speed to burn… the perfect antidote for a team that’s in desperate need of both. The question isn’t whether or not Hoffman would be a good fit with the Sharks, it’s what the cost of acquisition would be.
As pointed out by The Athletic’s Craig Custance last week, the Senators, as bad as they’ve been this season, don’t pick until the 3rd round at this upcoming NHL Draft. Surely they’ll be looking for high draft picks, likely AT LEAST a first round pick in exchange for Hoffman.
The Sharks also have some intriguing prospects that they could dangle in a potential deal for Hoffman. But there very best young players are already having an impact in the NHL, most notably Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier and Joakim Ryan. If any of these three were to be moved for Hoffman, you can expect some backlash from the team’s fanbase.
So, what’s a fair return for Hoffman to the Sharks? A first round pick and a youngster like former 19th overall draft pick Josh Norris? Time will tell.
Martin to be traded?
In other Sharks new, team insider Kevin Kurz recently addressed the team’s situation with 36-year-old defenseman Paul Martin and speculated about a possible trade out of the Bay Area before the deadline.
Kurz admits that any trade discussion around Martin is purely speculation, but that if the plan is in fact for the Sharks to trade him, he needs to get back into the lineup. With the Sharks blue line back to full health, it appears as though Martin is the odd man out. He’s afforded the opportunity to play elsewhere if he’s not in the Sharks’ plans.
Kane an option?
Assuming the Sharks don’t pursue Hoffman from the Senators, what are the chances they make an offer on Buffalo Sabres power forward Evander Kane?
Kane is on an expiring contract and is set to hit unrestricted free-agency for the first time in his career this offseason. He’s a big, speedy winger with natural goal scoring talent and he could be a perfect playoff rental for a team like the Sharks. He’ll likely have a lower price tag than Hoffman, despite outpacing him offensively in nearly every category.