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Mike Hoffman agrees to contract with Senators

Forward gets four years, avoids arbitration hearing

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Forward Mike Hoffman agreed to terms on a four-year, $20.75 million contract with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, avoiding an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 4.

"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 contract has an average annual value of about $5.2 million.

Hoffman was taken in the fifth round (No. 130) of the 2009 NHL Draft and led the Senators with 29 goals last season, when he made the $2 million that was awarded on a one-year contract in arbitration. The 26-year-old has 59 goals and 113 points in 186 games.

Tweet from @MHoffy68: 4 more years! Extremely excited to be back in Ottawa! Thanks to everyone for their support, Love���

Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion said the framework of the contract was worked out over a breakfast meeting with Hoffman's agent, Rob Hooper, Tuesday morning.

"We see Mike as a huge piece of our team going forward," 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."

Hoffman could have become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

"It's a team that I want to play for," Hoffman said. "I'm really looking forward to working with (coach) Guy Boucher again. I love the city, love the fans, so it just seems like it's a good fit for me. My first priority was trying to get the job done with Ottawa."

Hoffman played for Boucher with Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2007-09. Hoffman scored 52 goals to help it win the QMJHL championship in 2009.

Video: Mike Hoffman signs a 4 year extension with Ottawa

"I think [being reunited with Boucher] is going to be great for myself," Hoffman said. "He knows how to work with me. He's a great coach. He's going to be great for all the players in Ottawa and I'm really looking forward to working with him.

"He kind of set me on the right road (in Drummondville). I came in there as a young player and I needed to learn a lot. He teaches you a lot about on-ice and off-ice behaviors. I give a lot of credit to my career on his coaching and what he did for me in Drummondville.

"Back then we never realized we're both going to be with the same NHL team one day, so it's a pretty cool story."

Under coach Dave Cameron last season, Hoffman ranked sixth among Senators forwards in power-play ice time but led them with nine power-play goals and was fourth with 13 power-play points.

"The thing that's exciting about Mike Hoffman is he's going to play for a coach, without divulging too many secrets, [who] simply adores him," Dorion said. "We're excited that they can grow together, that Mike just won't accept scoring 30 goals, but his game can just be even more rounded. We're excited about how Guy told me he is going to use him on the power play, and it can only be more fruitful for our team. He can be even more productive.

"We've invested in Mike Hoffman for all these years, and for us today, getting to sign him and buying three years of [unrestricted free agency] and getting him in his prime in what we feel is a very good contract -- and I know Mike is happy with the contract -- it's just a great day for the organization. I actually hugged (assistant GM) Randy Lee today."

Dorion's next job is getting restricted free agent defenseman Cody Ceci under contract.

"The only date that matters is Oct. 12 (the regular-season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs) and I can assure you that Cody will be playing for us on Oct. 12," Dorion said.

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