After deciding to keep pending UFA Mike Hoffman on the roster to start the season,there have been multiple differing opinions on about his value to the team.
There’s a lot of great things about Mike Hoffman‘s game as a Florida Panther. Led the team in power-play goals, held a massive point streak in his first month with the team, and has one of the loudest slapshots in the NHL. Since arriving, he’s been a massive part of the power play that ranked 2nd in the NHL last season.
There’s also a good amount of questionable things about Hoff’s play. He’s not the fastest skater, doesn’t use his size as well as a lot of others his frame, and shows a consistent struggle to contribute at even strength.
Personally, I’ve gone through a lot of different opinions on Hoffman. At times, I’ve had to appreciate how much work he’s done for the Panthers’ power play, whether it was him scoring or just providing an option. Others points, usually when the Panthers are struggling, it’s incredibly frustrating to watch Hoffman’s little creativity at even strength.
Hoffman, unlike Aleksander Barkov or Evgenii Dadonov, doesn’t really create his own shot effectively. He doesn’t have much of a go-to move when isolated, but rather creating space off the puck and waiting for a perfect saucer pass to clock into the top shelf.
In 108 games as a Panther, Hoffman has produced an impressive 88 points, with 46 of those being goals. Since the start of last season, that is the most goals out of any Panthers player in that time frame, with Barkov’s 42 as a close second.
While that’s one way to look at it, you also have to look at the points shares between 5v5 and 5v4/5v3. Out of Hoffman’s 88 points, 42 of them have been on the power play, the most amongst forwards since Hoffman’s debut. Keith Yandle‘s 50 points top Hoff’s 42, however, Yandle has only had eight goals amongst those 50 points, whereas Hoffman has 22 power-play goals.
So, there’s a clear sign that Hoffman is much more of a threat on the man advantage in comparison to 5v5, but even still, he’s scored the most goals amongst Panthers since he joined. That continues to raise the question, how do you value him?
He’s played on three lines since joining the Panthers, showing he has too much talent compared to the third liners, but not being able to consistently play with Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau on the top line. Hoffman has typically played on the second line with Vincent Trocheck and Frank Vatrano (or Brett Connolly this season).
With all that considered, a glaring problem with Hoffman at the moment is that he is a pending UFA. With the Panthers having to pay both Hoffman and Dadonov this off-season, it seems more likely Dadonov will be the one who is extended.
With players like Kevin Hayes getting $8 million, it’s likely that both Hoffman and Dadonov, both 30, will look for around that same price tag. The Panthers will likely have around $12.4 million in free cap space with Jayce Hawryluk and Mark Pysyk coming off the books, and it’s very unlikely that Hoffman and Dadonov will call it even and take $6 million each.
With that, it makes Hoffman expendable, to an extent. If Florida can dangle him to a team in need of goalscoring in exchange for a decent defenseman, Dale Tallon could consider pulling the trigger. Trading Hoffman, someone who’s shown he can put together a consistent point streak at any time, might not be a good idea for a team that wants to make a deep playoff run.
Throughout his time in Florida, Mike Hoffman has constantly been hyped up, but also quickly criticized whenever a rough stretch of games came. He’s a clear asset at times, but whether more assets can become available is what determines where his value really is.