Sharks

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Sharks

When the San Jose Sharks face off with the Ottawa Senators Friday, they’ll play a team in the midst of an eight-month free-fall. In May, the Senators were a Game 7 overtime win away from a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
 
Entering Friday, they’re 13 points out of playoff spot. 
 
Ottawa’s lost six of its last seven games, and the rumor mill is abuzz that Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will dismantle his club ahead of the trade deadline. Winger Mike Hoffman is among the players available, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, and the low-scoring Sharks should take notice. 
 
Since 2014-15, only 21 players have scored more goals than Hoffman. He’s only scored nine goals in 38 games this season, but is likely due for some serious regression to the mean.
 
Hoffman’s only scored on seven percent of his shots this season, compared to 12.3 percent over the last three seasons. He’s actually shooting a career-high 3.37 shots per game, and is due for a scoring spike once his finishing catches up to his shot volume.
 
He’d also add to an already-lethal power play. Hoffman has 17 power play goals since the beginning of last season, ninth-most in the league.
 
Unlike most other trade deadline options, Hoffman has significant term left on his contract. He’s signed until 2020, at a cap hit of just under $5.2 million, and would fit into San Jose medium-term salary structure. 
 
What would it take to get a deal done? As The Athletic’s Craig Custance noted on Thursday, the Senators do not pick until the third round of this year’s draft. 
 
His colleague, Pierre LeBrun, observed on Friday that the Sharks are without picks in the second and third rounds of the draft. Friedman reported that the Senators are intrigued by the St. Louis Blues forward prospects, while San Jose isn’t willing to part with young players like Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier, and Joakim Ryan, and they don’t have an exceptional prospect pool.
 
There’s also the issue of Hoffman’s no-trade clause, as he can’t be traded to a list of 10 teams he provides to the Senators. Plus, he also has a history against the Sharks, cross-checking Logan Couture in the head last season and prompting Couture to tell reporters  he “[hoped Hoffman] gets suspended.”
 
San Jose managed to integrate Raffi Torres into their locker room, and he had a much dirtier past against the Sharks than Hoffman. The no-trade clause (if they’re on his list), plus San Jose’s shallow cupboard of prospects, present much realer hurdles. 
 
They’ll get a good look at Hoffman on Friday night, and a better sense of whether those hurdles are worth overcoming. There’s no question he’d help the Sharks, as long as the price is right.