Now a week into free agency, teams are starting to form a semblance of what they will be when the puck drops on day one of the new season. Big names have signed in peculiar places and only time will tell if those signings will work out for both parties. For now, some big names still remain. That includes former New York Islander Matt Martin and former Florida Panther Mike Hoffman. The Boston Bruins have also expressed interest in signing a veteran defenceman. This is another edition of NHL Rumours.
New York Islanders
Rumour: The Athletic’s Arthur Staple is reporting that Matt Martin is engaged in contract talks with the New York Islanders.
Hearing UFA Matt Martin and the #Isles are working towards a new deal. Believe as many as seven teams inquired about Martin when free agency began last week but sounds like he wants to stay on the Island.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) October 15, 2020
Analysis: Matt Martin has never been much more than a depth forward on any team he has been on. He has been in the NHL for 11 seasons, nine of which have been with the New York Islanders. He would like to sign an extension to remain with the franchise this offseason. Although he has received offers from other teams, it is clear the Islanders are his top choice. There is no question the Islanders would like to retain his services.
Martin is a perfect fit for New York. Under head coach Barry Trotz, the team has lacked star power. They have still had no trouble winning games. By playing a strong defensive team game, they have played at an unprecedented level. Grit and grind have been the key to their success. While Martin is no scorer, he adds a level of tenacity that makes him an extremely valuable asset. We have seen teams built solely on talent fold fast and frequently in postseason play when up against physical teams. Martin brings that element to his game with 2,987 career hits.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has reported that Mike Hoffman may be interested in signing a short term contract this offseason.
Hearing Mike Hoffman is considering a one-year deal for his next NHL home. If he does that, there’s a good chance that he and Taylor Hall head to market next summer as the leaders in goals per game for all free agents 31 and under. Déjà vu all over again.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 16, 2020
Analysis: Mike Hoffman entered this offseason as a bonafide top-six forward looking for a big chunk of change. He may follow in Taylor Hall’s footsteps. Hall signed a one-year deal in an offseason that will not see the salary cap rise. He hopes to get his big contract next year. Hoffman would clearly like to take the same approach. Coming off of a season where he scored 29 goals and posted 59 total points, he should be able to bank roughly $6 million this offseason. If all goes well, he can get the same amount if not more per year on a long-term contract next year.
While Hoffman’s suitors still remain somewhat of a mystery, it would not be surprising to see him sign somewhere unexpected. As stated before, it would be a one-year deal. Hoffman may not find the perfect fit for him this year. He may just find a team that can afford his talents and join them just to remain in the NHL next season. COVID-19 has changed the outlook of the NHL for next season and it will still be impacting hockey next offseason whether the pandemic continues or not.
Rumour: Boston Bruins insider Joe Haggerty is reporting that the Boston Bruins are interested in signing Karl Alzner as a depth defenceman.
Per hockey sources, the Bruins have expressed some interest in free agent defenseman Karl Alzner as a no-risk veteran insurance policy should they go young on defense next season 🐻🏆🤔 https://t.co/Dv38vYlHPS
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) October 16, 2020
Analysis: The Boston Bruins are in a difficult situation. They lost Torey Krug to the St. Louis Blues. They also have not re-signed Zdeno Chara. That has left a sizable gap in their group of blueliners. Some of their top young defensive prospects may finally get a shot at NHL action. With that in mind, Boston needs a backup plan. If one of them goes down with injury or cannot perform at the NHL level, they need someone else who can step up. The Bruins think Karl Alzner could be the answer.
Alzner may jump out as a questionable decision to many. For those who know Alzner’s recent history. He signed a rather large contract with the Montreal Canadiens and was sent to the AHL’s Laval Rocket after just one season. Recently bought out by the team, he did not have what it takes to play at an NHL level anymore. Boston thinks that he may be a valuable asset as a depth player on a defence that was very clearly torn apart by free agency.
That does it for today’s NHL rumours. Be sure to check back tomorrow for another edition of NHL Rumours.