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Why Has Hoffman Slumped in Last Two Years?



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mike Hoffman has gone dry on the power play.

From 2015 to 2021, Hoffman ranked seventh in the NHL with 2.87 Power Play Goals Per 60 (of 173 forwards, 600+ PP minutes). He was truly one of the premier power play marksmen in the league, producing with the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Mika Zibanejad, and Leon Draisaitl.

But the last two seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Hoffman’s scoring on the man advantage has dropped 70 percent, down to 0.86 Power Play Goals Per 60. He’s still getting a healthy dose of power play time, 2:39 a night. But that 0.86 was 189th in the league (of 210 forwards, 200+ PP minutes).

More than anything, that’s why Hoffman has slumped. After averaging a 30-goal pace (over an 82-game season) from 2014 to 2021, he’s put up just 15 and 14 goals in each of the last two years.

There’s a reason why Montreal wanted to trade him, one year left at $4.5 million AAV, to the San Jose Sharks.

Meanwhile, at 5-on-5, Hoffman’s production hasn’t fallen as sharply. From 2014 to 2021, Hoffman averaged 0.86 Goals Per 60, good for 68th in the NHL (of 384 forwards, 2000+ minutes). Over the last two seasons, he’s at 0.73 Goals Per 60, more middle of the pack at 175th in the league (of 366 forwards, 1000+ minutes).

It goes without saying, but it would help the San Jose Sharks if Hoffman shot the puck as much as he used to.

At 5-on-5, his Shot Attempts Per 60 has crashed from 14.51 (from 2014-21) to 11.49 (last two years). It’s a similar story on the power play. From 2015 to 2021, Hoffman was third in the NHL with 35.05 Power Play Shot Attempts Per 60. Over the last two seasons, he’s down to 27.84.

For what it’s worth, per SPORTLOGiQ, Hoffman has still paced the Canadiens over the last two seasons in Power Play One-Timers. That’s his bread-and-butter shot, it just hasn’t yielded any toast. So he’s trying.

But the larger question that the stats can’t answer, is the 33-year-old Hoffman simply having trouble getting to his customary shooting spots? That’s often the case with declining goal-scorers.

If that’s the case, it tough to see the San Jose Sharks getting much value out of Hoffman. The winger’s shot, by far, is his most dangerous offensive weapon.

Last season, Hoffman’s 5.19 Offense-Generating Plays Per 20 at Even Strength was 13th among Montreal forwards.

According to SPORTLOGiQ, Offense-Generating Plays “are made up of all plays that lead to scoring chances. In other words, they’re plays that move the puck into high danger areas or situations, recovering pucks for your team, and putting high quality shot attempts on net.”

In 2021-22, he was 12th among Canadiens forwards with 5.53 Offense-Generating Plays Per 20.

So if Hoffman isn’t shooting, I’m not sure how much he’s helping you. And if his shot is diminished, be it in volume and/or quality?

Considering his impressive track record and expiring contract, Hoffman was a reasonable gamble for San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier to take.

We’ll see if the veteran gunslinger still has a few bullets.

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