Initial Reaction: The Mike Hoffman Deal

On Tuesday, June 19, the Florida Panthers made their first major move in the offseason by acquiring Mike Hoffman from the San Jose Sharks (who had just been traded to San Jose by the Ottawa Senators).

What did the Panthers have to give up? Not a whole lot considering what teams have been asking for. The Panthers only gave up a fourth and fifth rounder in this year’s draft as well as a second rounder in next year’s draft. What did the Panthers get? A proven and consistent goal scorer who should add depth to the top six forward core. The Panthers also gained an irrelevant seventh-round draft pick this year.

But what about the trade itself? Well, the Panthers did not have to give much up and in typical Dale Tallon, fashion did not trade away a first-round pick. The surprising part of all this was that there were no players or prospects were traded away. At the trade deadline and during offseason rumors there has been a lot of rumors that the Panthers would need to give away some top talent, such as veterans like Nick Bjugstad or young guns Henrik Borgstrom and Owen Tippett, in order to acquire top six depth.

However, a big part of why this probably was not a part of the deal is due to the baggage that Hoffman’s girlfriend brings to South Florida. It does seem as though this is just an isolated incident only having to do with the Karlsson family, so hopefully, the baggage stays up in Ottawa. The only difference I would have liked to have seen in this trade is getting it done a couple weeks ago and maybe including Adam Mascherin in the deal for a better draft pick in return. Mascherin was a former second-round draft pick who after completing his junior career chose to forego signing with the Panthers and re-enter the draft. Overall, this club did a good job in not giving up too much for a solid player adding depth to a nearly completed top six forwards.

What does this mean for the near and long-term future? There were some questions going into the draft as to whether the Panthers would be looking to add another offensive prospect. Most of their forward prospects are expected to make the jump in the coming seasons. Trading for a proven scorer like Hoffman indicates that management is leaning toward drafting a defenseman, where they have a shallow pool of defensive prospects. This is a draft stacked with defensive talent, and it seems like Tallon is going in the right direction. In the long-term, this deal provides a top-six forward to solidify an already solid top two lines.

Hopefully, this brings consistency in the forward core which this team lacked and specifically really plagued Vincent Trocheck throughout last season. The Panthers will allow for their younger guys to all play together and hopefully develop a chemistry that could last for the next decade. Management would rather see guys like Jared McCann, Maxim Mamin, Aleksi Heponiemi, Sebastian Repo, Henrik Borgstrom, and Owen Tippett playing on the same lines for a long time to come. Hoffman allows them to do this and takes the pressure off these young players when it comes to performing at a high level.

Final Thoughts

  1. Management, while being somewhat frugal in the past, has given Tallon the green light to go after big names this off-season (like a John Tavares). I would not be surprised if Hoffman is moved again, as much as I like this deal, for a package of a couple of assets.
  2. A major sponsor for the Panthers is Hoffman’s Chocolate. This seems like an excellent marketing opportunity for both parties involved.
  3. The Panthers finally seem to be on the brink of being a dangerous team in the Eastern Conference, perhaps 68 can be the team’s play-Hoff-man when the time comes.
  4. Lastly, here are some of the reactions to the trade on every side of the deal. Enjoy.

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