Florida Panthers Report Card: Mike hoffman
Offense Grade: A-
Mike Hoffman fit right in with the Panthers young core from the moment he arrived in South Florida. He posted career highs across the board offensively. His 36 goals, 34 assists, franchise record 18-game point streak, and dominant power play totals (17 power play goals) made this season the best of his career on the offensive end. Prior to this season, he had never played with an overly productive center on his lines in Ottawa. But this season he spent a large amount of time skating with the likes of Sasha Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, and Jonathan Huberdeau. Their influence made an immeasurable impact on his game this year as he was afforded tons of open ice and opportunities galore. He capitalized on most of them. Whether he was blasting one-timers on the man advantage, firing laser wrist shots, or flying up the wings for tap in goals off brilliant passing from his line mates, Hoffman tied for the team lead in goals and could always be counted on for offense. The only reason he grades out at an A- is because he has a slight tendency to be streaky and would go scoreless for stretches of games if the power play wasn’t humming. He also took a few weeks to get going this year with a string of quiet performances to open the season. It’s possible Hoffman will even improve on this season next year as he is in the last season of his contract and will be looking to drive up his value with even better numbers. If healthy, he could top 40 goals.
Defense Grade: C-
I’m not a big believer in plus/minus as a stat indicating defensive value, but it is hard to overlook Hoffman’s -24 rating this season. He simply was on the ice for far too many goals against and he and Keith Yandle were responsible for a handful of short-handed goals for the opposition. He wasn’t awful in terms of being in position and he will occasionally come up with a big takeaway or poke check. He’s a smaller player so he doesn’t win many board battles or separate body from puck effectively. But, he has more games where he is invisible defensively than games where he makes a critical defensive error. Especially with Coach Quenneville now running the show, the defensive systems should be tighter and that will work to the benefit of a player like Hoffman who can generally be counted on to do his job on both ends. He’s not a guy I want on the ice to kill penalties or close out the last minute of a one-goal game, but that’s not his role. If you know what to expect from him, he likely won’t disappoint.
overall grade: B+
Hoffman turned out to be the steal of last summer for the Panthers when Dale Tallon sent a handful of draft picks to the San Jose Sharks who gave him up for pennies on the dollar. Given that the Sharks were in pursuit of Erik Karlsson and earlier, John Tavares, the Sharks get a pass for parting with Hoffman so easily. But it certainly worked to our benefit in Sunrise. He produced offensively at an even better rate than expected. He broke the franchise point streak record held by Pavel Bure. He became the main weapon on the best power play in franchise history, and there’s even more room for him to improve on this great season. He proved to be one of the most valuable players on the roster after his breakout season so despite his suspect defense, he grades out at a solid, if not very good, B+ with even higher upside for next year.