USATSI_9230384_154158418_lowresThe Ottawa Senators have avoided arbitration with forward Mike Hoffman and have signed him to a four-year contract worth $20.75 million. The club announced the deal on Wednesday, with the arbitration hearing scheduled for August 3.

The contract carries an average annual value of $5.2 million.

“It’s great. I’m extremely happy we could come to an agreement on a deal,” Hoffman said. “I went through the arbitration thing last summer and didn’t really want to go through that again. Coming to terms with Ottawa, it definitely feels good.”

The 26-year-old from Kitchener was awarded a $2 million one-year contract last season.

In the 2015-2016 season, Hoffman had 59 points in 78 games – including a team-leading 29 goals. He had 13 points on the power play, a sure improvement from the previous season’s totals of three power play points.

Hoffman’s steady improvements are a big part of why the Senators were prepared to make the deal.

“We see Mike as a huge piece of our team going forward,” Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion said. “This was something where we wanted to avoid arbitration and we wanted to a contract that was fair for both sides. I think both sides are extremely happy today.”

Indeed, both sides should be very happy. The Senators have locked up their best scorer of the last two seasons and Hoffman has some stability, with a no-trade clause in the last three seasons of the contract.

And believe me, Ottawa is banking on a lot from this player. With new head coach Guy Boucher behind the bench, the potential is there for some interesting things. Boucher and Hoffman worked together in Drummondville when the forward was a junior. The coach has the knack for power play setups and the player factors heavily into those plans.

With a boost on the man-advantage and a new deal, it’s not unlikely that Hoffman’s primed for another career year. He could jump into 30-goal territory with just a little push and that sets him up for some offensive opportunities.

All in all, this really is a very good deal for player and team. The Senators got this one right.

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