With a little under $3 million in available cap space for the 2021 season, it seems unlikely that Don Sweeney and the Bruins have the necessary means to significantly augment this roster beyond a move to re-up Zdeno Chara for a 15th season in a black and gold sweater.
But with a sizable pool of NHL talent still without teams this offseason due to a stagnant free-agent market, is there a chance that the B's might still be able to bring aboard an impact player, even with their meager reserves as far as cap space goes?
TSN analyst Dave Poulin seems to think so, as he predicted on That’s Hockey Tuesday night that the Bruins would eventually land veteran winger Mike Hoffman to round out Boston's top-six forward corps.
In any normal offseason, the Bruins being realistic players for a proven sniper like Hoffman with under $3 million in tangible cap space would be a scenario only dreamt up in the most far-fetched "Franchise Mode" playthroughs on NHL21.
But with Hoffman — who was looking to command at least $6 million per year on a new contract after lighting the lamp 65 times over two seasons in Florida — likely forced to take a major pay cut just in order to squeeze onto an NHL roster during this barren offseason, perhaps such a sequence of events isn't so ludicrous after all.
On paper, the situation seems like a no-brainer for the Bruins, who managed to beef up their 5v5 scoring with the addition of Craig Smith in free agency, but could be in need of some additional heavy lifting up front with David Pastrnak on the shelf until mid-February due to offseason surgery. The Bruins have spent years searching for a consistent winger to mesh with the playmaking prowess of David Krejci, and few forwards have been as consistent as Hoffman — with the 31-year-old winger averaging 28 goals over the last six campaigns.
So if Hoffman is willing to take a STEEP pay cut (perhaps even on a one-year deal), who says no?
Well, yours truly hasn't been so keen on such a move — although I may need to adjust my appointed viewing to something a bit more pertinent to the current holiday season if such a hypothetical situation turns into reality.
What'll it be — Fred Claus? Christmas With the Kranks?
Still, as appealing as the scenario might be of inking a potential 30-goal scorer in Hoffman to a bargain deal — the likelihood of Boston signing the winger in the weeks leading up to training camp remain slim, at best. It certainly revolves around just how much money the UFA is willing to relinquish to sign with a team like Boston, but the jury is also out on just how much a forward like Hoffman really moves the needle forward for what this Bruins team needs.