LA Kings: Mike Hoffman on a one-year deal makes sense

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Free-agent forward Mike Hoffman is reportedly open to a one-year deal, and the LA Kings should consider signing him to help with the team’s scoring.

Last week, we learned that the LA Kings were one of several teams who had expressed interest in free-agent forward Mike Hoffman. How serious was the interest? It could have been simple as a check-in to potentially talking term and dollars. We may never know.

But Hoffman’s agent Rober Hooper has indicated that his client is open to a one-year contract.

"“There’s no issues on a one-year deal,” Hooper said, via “Obviously, if you’re going to take a one-year deal, you want to put yourself in a good situation because you’re going to be back in the market next year again.”"

The Kings were one of the best puck possession teams in the league last year, but they struggled to finish, as the club recorded the second-fewest goals. The only move that likely impacts the NHL roster this offseason was the acquisition of Olli Maatta. Yes, they traded for Lias Andersson, but keep reading. But he (Maatta) doesn’t figure to move the needle much, as The Athletic recently projected the Kings for 0.6 more wins than last season.

I understand the 2020-2021 season is an evaluation year for the team’s top prospects. Having said that, I still think the Kings could have done more this offseason. And if you can add a 30 goal scorer on a one-year deal to boost the team’s top-six lines, I think Rob Blake has to consider it at least.

The majority of the prospects who will get a look will be slotted in on the bottom-six lines, outside of Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev, or Alex Turcotte from being promoted. Hoffman, 30, spent the majority of the 2019-2020 season on the Panthers’ second and third lines. He would be a great mentor for Gabe Vilardi and Martin Frk on the left side of the team’s second line.

The addition would likely push Adrian Kempe down to the third line to the left of Blake Lizotte. The two played really well together last season in nearly 370 minutes of on-ice time together, with nearly a 58 expected-goals-for percentage.

A one-year deal does nothing to impact the long-term future for the Kings’ prospects nor the salary cap, and Hoffman could set himself up for a sizeable contract next offseason when the world is, hopefully, normalized.

The 2020-2021 season start date has yet to be determined, but the addition of Hoffman could give the Kings a significant boost right now – potentially even sniffing a wild card spot in the playoffs – with one of the prospects slotting into his vacant spot the following year.

A quick projection of the forwards might look something like:

Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown

Hoffman – Vilardi – Frk

Kempe – Lizotte – Carter

Andersson – Anderson-Dolan – Grundstrom

A couple of notes. This assumes that Andersson doesn’t remain in Sweden for the 2020-2021 season, which had previously been rumored. The extra forwards would likely be Michael Amadio and Matt Luff to begin the year.

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How that all plays out if a prospect is promoted after showcasing well in the AHL remains to be determined, but Luff, Anderson-Dolan, and/or Kempe could be used as trade bait for draft capital or go after a bigger fish at the deadline that would be part of the team’s rebuild.