3 former Canadiens who Kent Hughes should not bring back in 2024

Numerous former Canadiens players will be available in NHL free agency this summer, but Kent Hughes would do well not to bring a few of them back.
Mar 16, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Montreal Canadiens left wing Mike Hoffman (68) brings the puck
Mar 16, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Montreal Canadiens left wing Mike Hoffman (68) brings the puck / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens will see plenty of familiar faces in free agency once July 2024 hits, but it doesn’t mean they need to fill gaps in their lineup with older faces. It’s not that the players listed in today’s article aren’t serviceable because all three of them should either re-sign with their current teams, depending on current cap space, or they’ll serve a purpose on one of the NHL’s other 30 franchises, and yes, I said 30, not 31. 

So, who has worn a Canadiens uniform in the past that shouldn’t don one for the 2024-25 season? One of them was forced to struggle through a subpar campaign with a not-so-good team this past year, while the other two earned a trip to the postseason. 

The final name listed may excite fans if he returned for a second stint in Montreal, and to be honest, he wouldn’t be a bad signing. But considering how general manager Kent Hughes is trying to build the Habs, that player wouldn’t be the best option at the moment. 

Mike Hoffman, F

It shouldn’t surprise any of us if Kent Hughes rolled with looking for sound depth scoring options this summer, but Mike Hoffman is one player he should forget about. To his credit, Hoffman wasn’t a bad option for the Habs during his first run with the team, when he logged 69 points and 29 goals in 134 games between 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Hoffman also played good hockey during his previous stops in St. Louis, Florida, and Ottawa, and he should play a sound role as a depth forward regardless of where he lands if that team is already in good shape from a scoring standpoint. 

The issue with returning to Montreal is that Hoffman’s overall production has slowly declined since the 2018-19 season when he put up 70 points and 36 goals with the Florida Panthers. No, Hoffman wasn’t bad in the years that followed with the Blues and later, the Canadiens, and you can’t blame him for his meager 23-point outing with the Sharks. 

But at this point, especially heading into his age-35 season, it’s tough to count on Hoffman to return to anything remotely close to what he was during his days in Florida. At best, he factors in as a bottom-three forward heading into 2024-25. The Habs would also ideally look for potential depth scoring options that can give them more than Hoffman would likely bring.