Jan 14: Hofmann has cleared waivers and will have his contract terminated.
Jan 13: A few days after informing the team that he would not be returning to North America, Gregory Hofmann has been placed on unconditional waivers according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. The Blue Jackets had previously suspended Hofmann for not returning, with his Swiss team EV Zug announcing that he would rejoin them once the contract details in the NHL were dealt with.
Hofmann’s one-year, $900K contract with the Blue Jackets will be terminated tomorrow, technically making him an unrestricted free agent. He’ll be staying in Switzerland though, meaning his NHL journey will for now end at 24 games.
Those 24 games were actually relatively productive, as Hofmann recorded two goals and seven points for the Blue Jackets. He leaves as the current +/- leader on the team as well at +6. It’s an unfortunate situation for the Blue Jackets, especially after giving up so little to bring him over to North America in the first place. Last February, the team traded a 2022 seventh-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for Hofmann’s rights a decade after he was originally selected in the fourth round. The Hurricanes had never been able to sign him, but Columbus was able to bring him over now that he was no longer held to the entry-level system.
What remains on the $900K salary will not be paid out now that he’s gone, but Hofmann technically could sign a new deal with another NHL team at some point in the future. There’s not really any reason to believe he’ll do that though, as he is a star in the Swiss league he now returns to. A veteran of 11 seasons there, he had 41 points in 36 games for EV Zug in 2020-21 and scored the championship-clinching goal in the playoffs to take home his second career title.