Player #4: Mike Hoffman, Left Wing
Mike Hoffman has consistently done his job for the Ottawa Senators; scoring 20+ goals in the past four seasons, recording upper 50 or lower 60 points, and getting open for centers to provide him with shots.
That, however, was in Ottawa, who made the playoffs once in the four seasons of Hoffman’s best years, and with that, Hoffman was mismanaged. He was playing behind the seemingly ageless Bobby Ryan, preventing him from playing with Kyle Turris or Matt Duchene.
After some ‘acts’ by his fiancée over social media, Mike landed in Florida, with Ottawa trading him to San Jose to get rid of his contract, and the Sharks immediately flipping him to Florida for some needed draft picks.
What a lot of the NHL might not expect is that Hoffman may be back in San Jose this season, for the 2019 All-Star weekend. He’s been written off before by the media and fans for being one-dimensional, but this one dimension is something that the Panthers seriously lack.
Hoffman plays a similar role to Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, both on the power play and during even strength. Rather than Ovi’s Office, I’d prefer to call it ‘Hoffy’s Headquarters’ (*trademark pending*), right inside the faceoff dot on the right side while the puck is moved from point-to-point.
While this one didn’t come on the power play, it comes on one of his faceoff dot bullets that hopefully will be seen in plenty for the Panthers.
Hoffman bumps off and creates space for Duchene to slide the puck towards him, and blasts it past Bishop, while off-balanced.
Mike hasn’t played a game for the Panthers yet, but he already has the best slapshot out of any forward by far. The power play is something that the Panthers have struggled with over the past four or five seasons, with no true player being able to materialize anything on the power play other than maybe Keith Yandle this past season.
Hoffman gives the Panthers a legit weapon on the man advantage, capable of ripping some absolute lasers from the point or from the right flank, which can give the PP the edge its been lacking for so long.
Again, marketability for an all-star is very important, and to have his shots go in from improbable angles is something that catches the eyes of many.
His kind of sheer talent to shoot the puck is perfect for all-star events like the Slapshot Challenge, as well as in the games, as Jack Eichel and P.K. Subban have used in past events. Feed Hoffman the puck in his spot and he could be fed a weekend in San Jose this coming season.