Signing Hoffman paying off for Blues

Every now and then, a good player slips through the cracks during the free agent period. Mike Hoffman is such a player and the Blues are reaping the benefits.

Perhaps it was the flat cap tying up teams’ options, but Hoffman ended up agreeing in December to join the Blues on nothing more than a professional tryout agreement. He had 70 points in 2018-19 and had recorded over 50 points in each of his last five seasons, so his status as a top-six forward and even a first-line option wasn’t in debate, but for whatever reason he didn’t have a contract. On Jan. 11, the Blues inked him to a one-year, $4 million contract with the cap flexibility afford to them by moving Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen to the long-term injured reserve list and he’s been a steal at that price.

He had a goal and an assist on Thursday to help the Blues earn a 3-2 overtime win against San Jose. That gives Hoffman six goals and 12 points in 16 contests this season. With that victory, St. Louis has a 10-5-2 record and leads the West Division, albeit while have a lower PTS% than Vegas and Colorado. Hoffman has been a key part of the Blues offense so far with Tarasenko continuing to recover from shoulder surgery.

The Blues have a good team even without Hoffman, but it’s fair to say that they’d have a significantly tougher time without him. Going out and signing Hoffman during Tarasenko’s absence highlighted the franchise’s commitment to winning and has been paying off.

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NEW JERSEY 3 BOSTON 2

Pavel Zacha scored the game-winning goal. It was his fourth marker and sixth point in 11 games.

The Devils’ other two goals were scored by Kyle Palmieri. He has two goals and six points in 10 contests.

Mackenzie Blackwood turned aside 25 of 27 Bruins shots. Both of the goals were scored during Boston power plays.

Jake DeBrusk found the back of the net for Boston. He has a goal and three points in 10 games.

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Jaroslav Halak saved 23 of 26 shots on Thursday. All the damage was done in the second period when the Devils scored three goals on 11 shots.

NY RANGERS 3 PHILADELPHIA 2 (SO)

Alexandar Georgiev stopped 20 of 22 shots before the shootout. He was beaten once in three shootout rounds, but that was still good enough to give the Rangers the win.

Carter Hart saved 31 of 33 shots prior to the skills competition. Hart was then scored on in both shootout rounds and missed out on the extra point as a result.

Joel Farabee found the back of the net for the Flyers. That gives him seven goals and 13 points in 14 games.

Colin Blackwell scored a power-play goal. The Rangers forward has three goals and five points in seven contests.

Brendan Smith accounted for the Rangers’ other goal in regulation time. It was his first marker and second point in eight games.

PITTSBURGH 4 NY ISLANDERS 1

The Islanders’ lone goal was scored by Brock Nelson. He has four goals and seven points in 16 games.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 33 of 36 Penguins shots. He has a 7-3-2 record, 1.99 GAA, and .930 save percentage in 12 starts.

At the other end of the ice, Tristan Jarry turned aside 31 of 32 shots. That ended his run of five straight starts where he allowed three or more goals.

Jason Zucker scored a goal and registered an assist. He has four goals and seven points in 15 contests.

Bryan Rust also had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. That gives him six goals and 15 points in 15 games.

COLUMBUS 3 NASHVILLE 0

Elvis Merzlikins saved all 32 Predators shots to earn the shutout. It was his first shutout of the season and the sixth of his career.

Cam Atkinson scored the first and therefore game-winning goal. After scoring just two goals in his first 13 games, he’s now on a five-game goal scoring streak.

Max Domi also found the back of the net for Columbus. That gives him three goals and seven points in 18 contests.

Viktor Arvidsson had a team-high four shots on Merzlikins. Arvidsson has just two goals in 16 games, which is a far cry from 2018-19 when he finished with 34 goals in 58 contests.

Juuse Saros kicked out 19 of 21 Predators shots. He has 3-5-0 record, 3.47 GAA, and .882 save percentage in 10 games this season.

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TORONTO 7 OTTAWA 3

Michael Hutchinson stopped 34 of 37 Senators shots. This was his first start of the 2020-21 campaign. He’s serving as the Maple Leafs’ second goaltender because Jack Campbell is out with a leg injury.

Auston Matthews played a huge role in the Leafs’ win, scoring two goals and two assists. He’s up to 16 goals and 25 points in 17 contests.

Mitchell Marner scored a goal and registered three assists for Toronto. That gives him eight goals and 26 points in 18 games.

Joe Thornton contributed a goal and two assists. The Maple Leafs forward has three goals and eight points in eight contests.

Marcus Hogberg got the start, but after stopping four of five shots, he left the contest due to a lower-body injury. Matt Murray stepped in and surrendered six goals on 26 shots.

Tim Stutzle scored a goal and registered an assist for Ottawa. He has five goals and nine points in 16 contests.

WASHINGTON 3 BUFFALO 1

The Sabres’ only goal was scored by Victor Olofsson. It was his sixth goal and 12th point in 13 games.

Olofsson goal came at 11:27 of the third period to deny Vitek Vanecek the shutout. Still, the Capitals goaltender turned aside 22 of 23 shots.

At the other end of the ice, Linus Ullmark saved 18 of 21 shots. He’s allowed three goals in each of his last four starts.

Tom Wilson scored the game-winning goal. He’s up to six goals and 13 points in 13 games.

Conor Sheary also contributed a goal for Washington. That gives him four goals and five points in 12 contests.

ST. LOUIS 3 SAN JOSE 2 (OT)

David Perron scored the overtime winner and registered two assists. He has six goals and 18 points in 17 contests.

Mike Hoffman contributed a goal and an assist for St. Louis. He’s up to six goals and 12 points in 16 games.

Jordan Binnington stopped 30 of 32 Sharks shots. Both of San Jose’s goals came in the second period where he faced 12 shots.

John Leonard found the back of the net for San Jose. He has two goals and four points in 10 games.

Martin Jones saved 42 of 45 shots last night. He’s 6-4-1 with a 3.65 GAA and .882 save percentage in 11 starts.

LOS ANGELES 3 ARIZONA 2 (SO)

Jonathan Quick stopped 20 of 22 shots in regulation time. He allowed two goals in four shootout rounds, which was good enough in this case to get the extra point.

Darcy Kuemper turned aside 27 of 29 shots prior to the shootout. However, he was bested three times in four shootout rounds, so the Coyotes lost the game.

Dustin Brown netted the first goal of the game at 4:21 of the opening frame. The Kings forward has eight goals and 14 points in 15 games.

Jeff Carter accounted for Los Angeles’ other non-shootout goal. He’s up to three goals and nine points in 15 contests.

Phil Kessel scored a goal for Arizona. It was his fifth goal and ninth point in 16 games.

MINNESOTA 3 ANAHEIM 1

Kevin Fiala netted the game-winning goal. He has four goals and points in 10 contests.

Marcus Foligno also found the back of the net for the Wild. That gives him two goals and four points in 11 games.

Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 16 of 17 Ducks shots. He only faced three shots in the first period and six in the second.

Sam Steel contributed Anaheim’s lone goal. It was his second goal and fifth point in 16 games.

John Gibson saved 24 of 27 shots Thursday night. He surrendered two goals on nine shots in the first period.

Published: 2021-02-19 08:23:07

Tags: #Signing #Hoffman #paying #Blues

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