After a seemingly endless wait, we now know that UFA sniper Mike Hoffman will bring his 25-35 goals to the Gateway City for the '20-'21 season. However, due to the Blues current cap situation (read: no space currently available), the team signed Hoffman to a professional tryout. Once the season opens and the Blues have both Vladimir Tarasenko's and Alex Steen's contracts on long-term injured reserve, the Blues will officially sign Hoffman.
This obviously isn't the standard manner in which teams sign free agents but the PTO is just a (legal) work-around until the money is right for St. Louis. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman speculates that he'll sign a one-year deal worth between $4M-$4.5M. Hoffman was the last of the big-name, (perceived) big-money FA forwards on the market and this is a huge pick-up for the Blues, who ostensibly replace a 4th liner with a top-six goal scorer.
Mikael Granlund was free to sign with any club but, like every other person who goes to Nashville, he apparently loved it there. So he stayed put and re-upped with the Preds on a one-year deal worth $3.75M. He had 17-13--30 in 63 games played in Smashville last season.
After a regular season in which he potted a career-low five goals, many league observers wondered just how much Corey Perry had left. But then he looked like a new man in the playoffs with 5-4--9 in 27 games and a rejunvenated game. This is a nice low-risk, high-reward signing by the Habs. If they can scratch their way to a spot in the playoffs, Perry could play the same role for them as he did for Dallas last season.
The Ottawa Senators keep making moves and, to me, are one of the more intriguing teams this off-season. Regardless of their ownership situation, this team played its ass off for coach D.J. Smith last season and there's no reason to expect that to stop. I know the analytics folks thought they overpaid for Derek Stepan but when you have three 2nd rounders, it's easy to part with one to bring a veteran, character center into a youthful locker room. The deal with Tampa Bay brings a pair of Cup rings and extensive playoff experience into the room for short money and cost them only LTIR space. They also signed 1st round pick Tim Stuetzle to his ELC but that was a mere formality. If 26-year-old goalie Matt Murray can get back to the player he was just a couple of years ago in Pittsburgh, the Sens could find themselves in the playoffs mix for the North Division.
Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay re-signed one of its key young players in Anthony Cirelli. The restricted free agent was coming out of his ELC and got a nice, deserved bump in pay.
It was also no secret that the Lightning would need to perform some salary cap sorcery to get cap compliant for the upcoming season. And voila!
I wouldn't be surprised to see them to trade at least one more deal with term away to help out the cap situation.
40-year-old goalie Ryan Miller isn't done yet. He'll be back for an 18th NHL season and his 4th in the O.C. He signed a one-year deal worth $1M to back-up John Gibson.
Two weeks from Wednesday, the NHL will be back.