Jan 11: EV Zug has announced that once “NHL transfer formalities” are completed, Hofmann will resume his contract there. That would suggest he will be placed on unconditional waivers today.
Jan 10: The Columbus Blue Jackets have decided that a suspension is their only option. Gregory Hofmann has been suspended indefinitely by the team, with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen offering the following explanation:
Gregory was given permission by the club to step away for personal reasons and informed us today that because of those reasons he has decided not to return. Obviously, we are disappointed, but we have no other recourse than to suspend him.
By suspending him without pay, Hofmann’s cap hit will not count toward the Blue Jackets’ total.
The 29-year-old forward signed a one-year, $900K contract with Columbus this offseason after a long career in Switzerland, and had played in 24 games so far this season. Though he had scored just two goals and seven points, his play had been impressive enough to earn more ice time of late, including nearly 20 minutes in his second to last game.
Given a leave of absence in late December, Hofmann’s reason at the time had to do with the birth of his first child. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic tweets that as recently as yesterday, Kekalainen had expected Hofmann to be back soon.
By suspending him instead of terminating his contract, the Blue Jackets will retain Hofmann’s rights through the end of the season. The Swiss league technically does not have a transfer agreement with the NHL and therefore could theoretically sign him, but they usually respect North American contracts (and related suspensions). Hofmann will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.