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Mike Hoffman in 2023-2024 and Jonathan Drouin in 2022-2023: same battle
Credit: How many goals will he score this season?

As you know, the Habs will have more salary leeway next summer. In fact, the club will really be able to have fun if that’s what it wants to do.

There are a number of reasons for this, including the increase in the cap, the fact that the club will be able to trade players due to contracts that will become less and less onerous… and players at the end of their contracts.

That said, when you take a look at Cap Friendly, you’ll see that the UFAs coming to the CH in 2024 aren’t the biggest of the bunch. They include Rem Pitlick, Chris Wideman, Sean Monahan and Samuel Montembeault.

Monahan could stay longer… and Montembeault should stay longer.

But there’s another name who makes more money than the others and who will (hopefully) become a free agent in 2024. I’m talking about Mike Hoffman and his $4.5 M per year contract.

And the more I think about it, the more I get the feeling that he could be this season’s Jonathan Drouin.

After all, this time last year, Drouin was a talented player at the end of his contract. He couldn’t make his mark, and we knew the club was trying to get rid of him – without success, in the end.

Drouin didn’t play the first game of the 2022-2023 season, and there’s a world in which Hoffman might have to skip his turn on the sidelines of the first regular-season game. After all, if everyone is healthy, there will be congestion.

Caufield – Suzuki – Anderson
Newhook – Dach – Monahan
Slafkovsky – Dvorak – Gallagher
Harvey-Pinard – Evans – Armia

To me, there’s a world in which Mike Hoffman, Rem Pitlick, Michael Pezzetta and Jesse Ylönen are the men too good to start the Habs’ next season.

I know, I know: Christian Dvorak could/should miss the start of the season. That said, the CH has no shortage of center players, and if Martin St-Louis made room for youngsters in October 2022 by leaving Drouin out, he can do the same with Hoffman this year, can’t he?


The Habs didn’t want to buy Hoffman, which is a good decision, so as not to affect the mass next year. And since (obviously) nobody wants him in the NHL, the CH is stuck with him.

It’s the right thing to do for a club thinking long-term, even if it puts a hot potato in Martin St-Louis’s hands.

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