NHL Notebook: Who should Bruins steer clear of in free agency?

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Whether it be a slew of assets or some cap flexibility, Don Sweeney and the Bruins have a number of different avenues they can take in order to retool this roster for another run at the Cup.

A flat salary cap upper limit of $81.5 million looms large this offseason, prompting a number of franchises to cut payroll, sell off assets to remain below the stagnant ceiling and take a long look at their respective rosters ahead of a fiscal crunch.

Despite these worries, Boston is in a better situation than most clubs, with the B's set to open this offseason with a little over $15 million in cap space. Granted, that cap flexibility comes at the price of letting Torey Krug walk in free agency, while Boston will also have to divert some of that cash toward re-signing RFAs like Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk. Still, Boston should have a solid chunk of change remaining — with more freed up if Boston finds ways to unload contracts like John Moore's — to be active in free agency and on the trade market.

But just because Boston has some capital available this fall, doesn't mean that the B's should splurge in what is a pretty top-heavy free agent market — especially if more impactful assets can be obtained through trades. While there might be some value found deeper in the pool of free-agent skaters, here are a few buzz-worthy targets that Boston should steer clear of in free agency.

Mike Hoffman, Left Wing

Age: 30 (turns 31 on Nov. 24)
2019-20 Stats: 69 games played, 29 goals, 59 points, 16:50 ATOI 

On paper, a player like Hoffman seems like a natural fit for what Boston is desperately seeking this offseason — with the veteran winger establishing himself as a top-six weapon that has consistently lit the lamp for years now thanks to that elite shot he wields. Adding Hoffman could be the antidote that a team like the Bruins is desperately in need of, with the forward averaging 28 goals over the past six seasons. Slot him in next to a playmaking pivot like David Krejci and bam — problem solved, right?

Well, for as much as the baseline numbers signal a dependable finisher in line for a nice pay day — there should be a lot of buyer beware for any club willing to open up the checkbook for Hoffman, especially for a team in a spot like Boston.