Who wouldn’t want to see another #68 filling the net for the Rangers?

As we have discussed a few times, and from a few different angles, the Rangers are approaching a period of significant change over the next summer or two. With players (Girardi, Dan and Staal, Marc to name just two) regressing, contracts expiring (Eric Staal amongst others), other cumbersome contracts causing reason for concern (Rick Nash is making almost 8m? Really?) and a lack of can’t-miss prospects on the way, the Rangers are going to have to be both creative and proactive as they look to build on the fly as they try to stay in contention.

Jeff Gorton’s trade savvy will need to be in full beast mode over the next summer or two and maybe one player worth exploring might be Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman. Hoffman, despite emerging as a legitimate goalscorer, hasn’t always seen eye to eye with the Sens coaching staff this season and at times has even been demoted to the fourth line .

Hoffman has never been mistaken for a Selke candidate but he can score. He’ll also not exactly help the Rangers address their puck possession woes as he has a 48.8 CF% at even strength this season (albeit on a bad team) but Hoffman is a shooter and the Rangers are often guilty of too much of a pass first mentality. Hoffman is flirting with his first 30 goal season but there’s enough public animosity between the Sens and Hoffman to suggest he could move on after this season.

The Sens low ball contract offer last summer, and relatively surprising arbitration case success still lingers in the background and will be front and center again this summer. Hoffman will get paid this year – a lot more than his current $2m contract. However, let’s say he demands in the region of 5-6m for a long term pact. A 26 year old coming off 27 and (close to) 30 goal seasons despite inconsistent ice time while playing on a bad team? Yeah, he’ll be in demand around the league.

The Rangers will need to explore creative solutions to remedy their flawed, uneven roster. They might want to get younger, cheaper and simply change the dynamic of their team. Mike Hoffman is the kind of player the Rangers should look at it – assuming finances and cost to acquire are reasonable. A shoot first player, Hoffman is the kind of player that would look good on either Derek Stepan or Derick Brassard’s wing and maybe a more natural fit than Rick Nash? Food for thought as the Rangers stumble towards the end of the regular season.

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