For the Senators fans who generally ignore the AHL....let it be known that Ottawa have a player in the minors that is tearing up the league, currently sitting in 2nd in AHL scoring. And for anyone who wonders why he is not in the NHL, I will try to explain it as best I can.
Reasons He Should be in NHL:
It has to be stated first off, Mike Hoffman can score, prolifically and consistently and has gotten better every year he has been in the AHL, he quarterbacks the power play and plays big minutes with a hell of a shot.
He can skate like the wind (something he has shown at the NHL in brief spurts) and often makes fools of defenceman. As captain he has been doing great work in Binghamton and was the sole player selected to the AHL all-star game from the team.
Reasons why he will remain in the AHL:
Hes small both in size and in bulk. (He is a very generous 6 ft) and the AHL is filled with talented players who lack the body to make in the NHL, though obviously there are exceptions. He has legitimately not been given a sufficient chance at the NHL level, an injury last year really hurt what would have been an opportune time. Some players will have to stay in the minors longer than they should due to contracts. (I.E Claesson) Others never make it due to size (See Keller, Locke, Hamel) and that's just in Bingo.
Mike Hoffman has a very small window to make the roster in the near future and he has to make it count. Right now in the NHL we have 1 lock at LW for next year (MacArthur) with two players in all likelihood getting spots (Conacher/Greening) though the latter two are by no means locks. Assuming no FA is signed (or traded for) he has an opening in next years training camp to make the team. However he has competition...younger competition. Mike Hoffman cannot be the small guy with speed (Conacher is a younger and more prolific version of him in the AHL) and he cannot be a plug with what is coming.
Mike Hoffman is 24 and will be almost 25 by the time the next season comes around, his time is quickly running out. Cole Schneider and Matt Puempel have made great strides this year in Binghamton. With Shane Prince still a real possibility if a year or two away from contention). Schneider has been great in his 2nd year on the team, well Puempel has really improved as the season as progressed, his shot is easily the best on the team. Both are already bulkier (well Schneider is noticeably taller) than Hoffman which does matter at the NHL as Da Costa's improvement has shown. Neither player is guaranteed to be better than Hoffman but the attributes of the the other players have do give them a leg up.
MIke Hoffman has to prove he is not a tweener......or he will be gone.