Mike Hoffman, seen here after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, matured significantly in his first professional season last year. He's hoping to build on that during his second pro season, whether it's with the Ottawa Senators or the Binghamton version.
When Mike Hoffman was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, not much was made of it despite the fact that the centreman scored 94P in 62GP with the QMJHL's Drummondville Voltigeurs. When he scored 85P in 56GP with the Saint John Sea Dogs the following season, he turned some heads.
This past season he turned pro. Things started out slowly, and for a short time Hoffman was even sent to the ECHL's Elmira Jackals to get his game on. He was brought back up to Bingo for the playoff push, and once the team got into the post-season, Hoffman's production improved steadily. His points-per-game rose from about 0.338 in the regular season to 0.476 in the playoffs, and it was obvious that he took some steps forward in his pro career.
In this year's development camp, Hoffman's impressed once again. He was on the blue squad that won the 3-on-3 Development Camp tournament, and found some good chemistry with Mark Stone and Stefan Noesen in the process. Whether or not Hoffman's game has improved enough to earn him time with the Ottawa Senators remains to be seen, but he's certainly poised for a more substantial role with the Binghamton Senators if the NHL isn't in the cards for this season.
After the jump, an interview with Hoffman on his experience at the 2011 development camp, and then another interview with Hoffman on his experience at the 2011 development camp.
After the 3-on-3 tournament on Monday morning the Senators prospect chatted with a few people, including yours truly. In the interview, Hoffman mentioned a couple of things: His goals for this season are to add some size to his 6'1", 172-lb frame while working on becoming an 'everyday AHLer' and being a leader for younger players in the Senators' system. Below is the transcript of the entire interview, with the affiliations of the individuals asking the questions denoted.
Ottawa Senators: What's it been like going through this camp here?
Mike Hoffman: Oh, it's good, you know. Even though it's my third one, it's still good to come here, see some of the guys, the new draft picks and what not. It's definitely a good week, it's well worth it.
Ottawa Senators: Do you feel like, since you've been here a few times, do you feel like you're a veteran guy, if you will, in a situation like this?
MH: Yeah, for sure. Being one of the older guys and playing at one of the highest levels of the players out here, you definitely have to be a leader and the younger guys are looking up to you and you've got to show them the way.
Ottawa Senators: How would you describe where you were a year ago compared to where you are now?
MH: It's just, with everything, you build up. Over the years, from 18, 19, 20, 21, every year is different and every year you're going to get bigger and stronger. You're going to play junior and then going to the pros, so it's just a process.
Ottawa Senators: Do you feel that you're quite a ways closer to the NHL now, after what's happened in the last 3-4 months?
MH: Yeah, I think so. I've shown that I can play at the American League level, and I've just got to do that every game. Next year, that's what I'm trying to focus on right now.
Silver Seven: How do you think of the pace of the game this year compared to the camps that you've been at in the past, how do you think it measures up?
MH: I guess it seems a little bit slower, but that's normal. As you get older and start playing with younger guys it gets a little bit easier, but that doesn't mean you're not going to be working as hard.
Silver Seven: Your goal is obviously to make the NHL this year, but what other goals have you made for yourself this season?
MH: I just want to be the best player I can. I need to put on weight and just keep getting better. As Coach [Kurt] Kleinendorst says, just try and get better every ice time.
SRC: We were talking about the speed of the game, but talent-wise, how would you evaluate this crop of players compared to last year's?
MH: I think the last few years there's been a lot of older guys, but this is more of a skilled camp. The draft picks have got a lot of good skill, so I think that's definitely the difference.
Hoffman also spoke with Sens TV about his experience: