Top 25 Under 25, no. 9: Mike Hoffman
Finally cracking the top 10 in the Silver Seven's Top 25 Under 25 is the speedy left-winger, Mike Hoffman.
Still technically eligible for this ranking is the speedy left-winger, Mike Hoffman, who doesn't turn 25 until November 24th this year. He has been in the Senators system since being drafted in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at 130th in the fifth round. He's played in Binghamton since the 2010-2011 season and in June, was re-signed to a one-year, two-way contract.
Last season, Hoffman played the majority of the time for Binghamton and had a stint in Ottawa. He managed to finish first on the team in scoring and eighth in the AHL with 30 goals and 37 assists in 51 games for the B-Sens. These stats are not a surprise given that Hoffman is generally referred to as a scorer and different scouting reports have said that Hoffman is a fast player with a good shot. Those same reports said that despite his obvious skills, he needs some work on his two-way play (although he can kill penalties) and also needs to build his strength so he doesn't get pushed around. According to Graeme Nichols, however, Hoffman has been working hard this off-season to get in shape and bulk up for training camp where he faltered last year, so that is good news.
Although he had over a point-per-game pace in the AHL, Hoffman wasn't quite able to transfer his scoring success to the NHL. He suited up in 25 games for the Ottawa Senators and tallied three goals and three assists. This was his first real appearance in the NHL, however, and he looked to be improving as time went on. At the end of the season, he actually averaged more shots relative to his ice time at five-on-five than any other player in Ottawa, which one could assume may mean he will start finding the back of the net sooner than later. Altogether, from the games he played in Ottawa, it was evident that his speed and vision on the ice give him the potential to be a dangerous player, but it's whether or not he can find his scoring touch in the NHL that's of question at this point.
Ottawa's management did see something in Hoffman last year when he was called up, which is why he was given the year-long extension. I imagine he will get a prolonged chance in Ottawa this year (especially since he's waiver eligible now), but he will have to prove himself. Hoffman has great tools, but there are other prospects like Matt Puempel and Shane Prince who have similar assets and seem to be making the transition to the big leagues quicker than Hoffman. Another strike against Hoffman is that he's 25 this year, which usually means a player is who he is at this point. If he doesn't impress this season, Hoffman mostly likely won't be re-signed and his time in the Ottawa organization will be over.