TORONTO — Restricted free agent forward Mike Hoffman says his No. 1 goal is to remain an Ottawa Senator.
The 26-year-old, who was visiting Canadian IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe ahead of Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto, filed for salary arbitration with the Senators on July 5.
“We’re in the midst of trying to sign a new contract here,” Hoffman said, whose arbitration date is Aug. 4. “New coach coming in, Guy Boucher, I had him in junior when I played in Drummondville of the Quebec League. Very good relationship with him, we won a championship together. So definitely looking forward to working with him this year.”
Hoffman led Ottawa with 29 goals in 2015-16 while adding 30 assists in 78 games.
He was awarded a US$2-million, one-year deal by an arbitrator before last season. He had asked for a one-year, $3.4-million contract, while the Senators countered with a one-year, $1.75-million contract.
Hoffman scored 52 goals and 42 assists in 62 games under Boucher in 2008-09 as the Voltigeurs won the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship.
Boucher was named the new head coach of the Senators on May 8 — replacing Dave Cameron, who was fired on April 12.
Boucher has spent parts of the last three seasons as the head coach of SC Bern of the National League A in Switzerland.
Ottawa has also undergone a change in front office with Pierre Dorion now at the helm after Bryan Murray stepped down in April.
Hoffman is represented by the company Octagon, the same agency as Hinchcliffe, and was also in attendance with Florida Panthers prospect Lawson Crouse.