Fantasy Take: Blues Sign Hoffman to PTO

Ian Gooding

2020-12-27

The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Mike Hoffman to a professional tryout contract (PTO).

As noted in the Blues' press release, Hoffman can participate in all training camp activities, but he is free to sign a contract with any NHL team during the PTO. However, according to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford, it appears that the Blues are waiting until the start of the season to sign Hoffman (perhaps to a one-year contract), as they will need to move Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen on LTIR to clear the necessary cap space. The Blues also have yet to sign RFA defenseman Vince Dunn.

Hoffman is as consistent a goal scorer as they come. He is one of 13 players who has scored at least 20 goals over each of the last six seasons (STL Blues History), and that’s been with two different teams (Ottawa and Florida). So it is a surprise that he has remained unsigned this long, as he was one of the top-scoring options of this offseason's UFA group. He may seem overqualified for a PTO, since PTOs are usually for players at or near the end of their NHL careers. The added risk is that he won't receive a contract if he suffers a major injury before the season starts. However, keep in mind that there are no preseason games this season, and Hoffman may view St. Louis as his best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup.

Here is how the Blues' lines project to set up with Hoffman:

He might not be a player who sticks out to fantasy owners, but Zach Sanford would get bumped down the lineup should Hoffman sign. Sanford spent over half of his even-strength minutes with Ryan O'Reilly and David Perron during the 2019-20 regular season, which resulted in just over a half-point per game for him. This isn't nearly as likely to happen again with Tyler Bozak and Sammy Blais as potential linemates.

Assuming Hoffman signs, he should easily slot on the St. Louis first-unit power play, as he has scored at least 10 power-play goals in three of his last four seasons. Only three players (Alex Ovechkin, David Pastrnak,