Florida Panthers: Can Mike Hoffman Repeat a Career Season?

OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 19: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Florida Panthers celebrates his third period goal against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on November 19, 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 19: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Florida Panthers celebrates his third period goal against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on November 19, 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Mike Hoffman has been a “steady eddy” figure in the league since his first full NHL season in 2014, and there is no reason to believe he shouldn’t repeat his averages again for the Florida Panthers this upcoming season.

Mike Hoffman’s NHL career has spanned over eight seasons, with limited roles in the first three seasons where he played one, three, and twenty-five games respectively. The following five seasons Hoffman played at least seventy games, with his last two seasons being a complete eighty-two.

Since that point, Hoffman has been a steady scoring machine. He has eclipsed the twenty goal mark in each of his five full seasons and the twenty-five goal mark in four out of the five seasons as well.

While the four previous seasons with Ottawa were strong statistically, his last season (first with the Florida Panthers) was a coming-out party. Through a full eighty-two game season, Hoffman posted career highs in goals with thirty-six and points with seventy.

While the past season was a breakout year for Hoffman, expectations should be tempered as he enters this season for a few reasons.

While Hoffman was terrific offensively, defensively, like most of the team, he under-performed. Finishing the season a minus twenty-four, Hoffman tied for last with Mike Matheson on the Panthers in that respective.

One of the reasons for the dismal plus/minus stats is the fact that most of his offensive production came from the powerplay, where goals are not given a plus marker while on the ice. Having said that, Hoffman still under-performed defensively, but something most suspect will change for most of the team under that tutelage of Joel Quenneville.

While the Panthers did sign Hoffman for his offensive prowess, all players are responsible to not be defensive liabilities for the team. Quenneville has experience cultivating systems that allow offensive players to thrive, without surrender quality scoring chances to the opposing team.

Quenneville’s system will likely keep players accountable, but there is no reason to believe Hoffman’s production should not equate to his averages over the last five years. On a low end, he should be in the 20-22 goal range and 50-55 point range. The high-end expectation should be from 27 to 30 range for goals and 60-65 in points.

While some may believe he’s in for another career season in goals, assists, or points, I believe the system and the emphasis for team defense will restrict his ability to put his full energy on offense. A trade-off every fan should be able to be content with.

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That, plus the difficulty of matching or repeating in consecutive seasons makes the probability of Hoffman reaching close to 40 goals again unlikely. Unlikely, but not impossible.