Hey Dave Cameron, Mike Hoffman Is Not A 4th Line Player


Heading into tonight’s game vs Toronto, Mike Hoffman is set to make his 5th consecutive start on the Senators’ 4th line, and while you can see faults in Hoffman’s game, he is not, never was, and never will be a 4th line hockey player.

The “Smith” Factor

Throughout this 4th line stint, the player taking Hoffman’s assumed spot on the 2nd line has been Zack Smith.

Smith, a player who holds a career high in points that equals Hoffman’s goal total this season (26) and has recorded just 3 points in 33 games this season is playing above one of Ottawa’s fastest and deadliest players while they are in the middle of a playoff hunt.

Which doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense…

Hoffman has seen bursts on that 2nd line over the past 5 games, but has mainly spent time on a line with David Legwand and Alex Chiasson, and without surprise has only recorded 1 assist during that time.

This of course includes having an all-time low 9:56 TOI last night vs the Capitals, including a minuscule 2 shifts in last night’s 3rd period.

While Hoffman has had up and down points this season, you have to wonder why Smith continues to get prime playing time over Ottawa’s leading scorer, Hoffman.

Hoffman Is “Too Risky”

Let’s just throw this argument right out the window.

Mike leads this team in scoring, I cannot stress this enough. 26 goals has led an offensively gifted squad all season long and as Bobby Ryan won’t hit 20 goals for the first time in his career, offensive contributions have come from all over the place, with Hoffman leading the pack. 

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And while you could say that Hoffman is too much of a defensive lacking player, he has absolutely driven this team into possession all season long, as evidenced by his outstanding stat-line and possession stats.

At 5 on 5, not only does Hoffman generate more offence than anyone on Ottawa (2.70 P60, an NHL top 5 among regular players), but Hoffman also controls play with a positive 51.6 CF% through 865 minutes of 5 v 5 play on an Ottawa team that for most of the year had trouble possessing the puck.


Not to mention the incredible chemistry he’s held with Ryan and Zibanejad for most of the season, as they have held Corsi For percentages of 52.4% and 52.0% with Hoffman on the ice, and 45.4% and 46.4% with him off the ice.

Quite the change that a 25-year-old rookie has had on Bobby Ryan, a 500 game NHL veteran.

It’s been that 5 v 5 time that has been so crucial for Hoffman this season, it is certainly his strength on the ice as he is again top 5 in the league with goals scored at 5 v 5, a mark that only Steven Stamkos, Vladmir Tarasenko, and Rick Nash have bettered.

So, play Mike Hoffman at 5 v 5. Thanks.