NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Mike Hoffman, Joe Thornton and Potential Jets Trades

Jake RillSenior Writer IOctober 14, 2020

Florida Panthers' Mike Hoffman plays during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Mike Hoffman is one of the top offensive players to hit the free-agent market this offseason, as the 30-year-old forward has scored at least 22 goals in each of the past six seasons. However, despite free agency beginning this past Friday, Hoffman is still available for teams to pursue.

That doesn't mean there isn't interest, though. In fact, there are rumors of quite a few teams that could try to sign Hoffman soon enough.

According to TSN's Frank Seravalli, the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are "the teams that are most interested in [Hoffman] at this point." Seravalli also added that the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks "could be in the mix if they're able to move pieces."

Hoffman has "held firm on his value and his belief," per Seravalli, who reported that the forward is likely to sign a one-year deal worth between $5.5 million and $6.5 million.

After spending his first seven seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Hoffman was traded to the San Jose Sharks on June 19, 2018. On the same day, the Sharks then traded Hoffman to the Florida Panthers, who he played for the past two years.

Over those two seasons, Hoffman had 65 goals and 64 assists while playing in all 151 of the Panthers' games during that span. And with Taylor Hall off the free-agent market (he signed with the Buffalo Sabres), Hoffman is one of the best goal scorers still available.

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Could Thornton Head To Toronto?

Paul Beaty/Associated Press

Joe Thornton may be 41 years old, but his NHL career likely isn't over quite yet. It just may be taking him to a different city to join a new team.

According to The Athletic's James Mirtle, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the "beginning stages" of discussions with Thornton about potentially signing with the team. Thornton is a free agent after spending the past 15 seasons with the San Jose Sharks.

"It sounds like there's some mutual interest," Mirtle wrote. "The Leafs, as they did during free agency in 2017, have let Thornton know he's wanted. And Thornton is listening, from his offseason home in Switzerland, where he's been training with a top-league club."

Although Thornton has played 22 seasons in the NHL (spending his first seven-and-a-half with the Boston Bruins), he's never won a Stanley Cup. The four-time All-Star may not be putting up the same type of numbers he did early in his career, but he can still provide veteran leadership and experience to a team.

This past season, Thornton had seven goals and 24 assists in 70 games for San Jose. However, the Sharks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.

The Maple Leafs have reached the postseason each of the past four years, but they haven't won a postseason series since 2004. Still, Thornton could contribute to a contending Toronto team and potentially have a chance to make a playoff run in 2021.


Jets Shopping Pair Of Youngsters

Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

Forward Jack Roslovic and defenseman Sami Niku are both restricted free agents for the Winnipeg Jets this offseason, and neither has signed a new deal with the team. Although the Jets own their rights, it's possible new contracts won't be on the way from them.

That's because Winnipeg is currently shopping both Roslovic and Niku for potential trades, according to The Athletic's Murat Ates, who is reporting that the Jets are looking to add a top-four defenseman despite "running low on cap space."

"Given that Jack Roslovic and Sami Niku remain unsigned—and given that each has been buried behind more established players over the past few seasons—it stands to reason that they are the odd men out," Ates wrote. "To that end, multiple sources tell The Athletic that Roslovic and Niku are being shopped."

Roslovic was selected by the Jets with the No. 25 overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NHL draft. The 23-year-old center has 67 points (26 goals and 41 assists) in 180 games over the past four seasons. This past season, he had 12 goals and 17 assists in 71 games.

Niku was also taken by Winnipeg in the 2015 NHL draft, although he wasn't selected until the seventh round. The 24-year-old defenseman has only played 48 games over the past three seasons, tallying two goals and eight assists.