Montreal Canadiens: Mike Hoffman And The Sharks Never-Ending Rebuild

Mar 7, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; A young fan tries to get the attention of Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman (68) during the warmup period before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; A young fan tries to get the attention of Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman (68) during the warmup period before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 4, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

Erik Karlsson Trade Return

Unfortunately, the rest of Sharks roster has looked much the same, with a mix of other similarly high-priced veterans who have nothing left and a lack of any real game-breaking stars if there are any stars to begin with. Prior to last season, Karlsson was seen as one such overpaid veteran, or, in the words of myself, not just buy-out proof but buy-out repellant.

After an injury plagued and worryingly poor 2020-21 season, pretty much everyone had written Karlsson off, that was until he became just the sixth defenseman in league history to record a 100-point season in 2022-23, posting astounding 25-76-101 totals while playing all 82 games for the first time since 2015-16.

For the modern-day NHL, its an absurd achievement, especially coming from what many thought were damaged goods in Karlsson. So, you’d think, with a player of Karlsson’s calibre, Sharks GM Mike Grier would’ve been able to capitalize on in the trade market, even with Karlsson’s ludicrous $11.5 million AAV cap hit.

Well, he didn’t.

Argue the return and the value and every other aspect theoretical or otherwise involved with this trade all you want, but Grier got nothing for Karlsson considering all the talk he had made in the off-season about getting a high return for his star defenseman, something Hughes has built a reputation in Montreal for, getting great returns including the likes of Sean Monahan and numerous high draft picks.

Tyler Toffoli in particular netted the Habs Emil Heineman and a first round pick from the Calgary Flames, who subsequently dealt Toffoli to New Jersey for nothing this off-season. That is how moving veteran talents should be done. In comparison, Grier got well… zip. Nada. Zero. I’m sorry, but Jan Rutta, Mikael Granlund, Hoffman, and a single first-round pick is a terrible return.

The first-round pick is top-10 protected so its essentially meaningless at this moment, and unless Zeus strikes down with his magic thunder Granlund and Rutta will be out of San Jose within a few seasons if not after this season, with Hoffman looking like he may be gone before the end of this season.