Huberdeau vs Hoffman: Special Teams
Cal: This one is a massive issue for the Panthers as the power play needs an energizer this season, something Mike Hoffman can provide.
As mentioned earlier, his shot is absolutely ridiculous and the Panthers haven’t had a shooter of his quality in a while. His wrist shot is a cancer for teams to deal with and his mobility in and around the faceoff circle makes him so much more diverse.
He had 21 points on the man advantage last season, which eclipses Huberdeau’s 19. During his career-year of 2016-17, Hoffman netted 13 times on the power play. He tallied 13 assists in the past two seasons and it’s his kind of threat with Keith Yandle and a big body in front like Aleksander Barkov that can inspire a top unit in this league.
While Huberdeau is able to create on the power play, the need is somebody who can fire a dart from any area of the ice. Huberdeau to Hoffman can be a great connection this season and the two complement each other well – but Hoffman takes the cake for special teams.
Danny: For me, I take neither, and that’s because the two have separate roles that you really can’t compare. On one hand, you have Huberdeau who’s a playmaker, and on the other, you have a sniper in Hoffman. At this point, it’s about picking your poison because each role matters.
If you’re looking for a playmaking winger who can feed you pucks from across the opposite side of the zone, then you go with Huberdeau. If you’re looking for a winger who can snipe one-timers from the side, then your guy is Hoffman.
Of course, the Panthers needed that sniper along the side for the man advantage, which is partially why they went out and acquired Hoffman. But that shouldn’t mean that one’s role is weighed differently than the other. To me, a playmaker and sniper are equal of value on a team’s power-play unit.
For the sake of the exercise, I’d choose one, but because it’s too broad for me to pick, I weigh the two equally as their respective roles are important to the success of the man advantage. Expect both to contribute substantially in special teams play.