During the NHL’s Olympic break, Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino wondered how Mike Hoffman wasn’t in the NHL.
Well, Cosentino doesn’t have to wonder anymore because according to the AHL’s website, Hoffman was recalled by the Ottawa Senators from the team’s affiliate in Binghamton.
Having sent down Stephane Da Costa before the Olympic break so that he could keep playing games and stay sharp, there was a certain expectation that Da Costa would simply get recalled after the break because he scored three goals and four points in his last five games before being sent down.
Instead the Senators opted to recall the AHL’s second leading goal scorer (31) and point getter (67) in Hoffman.
To his credit, he’s apparently been scoring at an exceptionally high level of late.
He also has showcased his physical tools winning the fastest skater competition at the recent AHL All-Star Game.
Now with all that being said, it’s tough to get excited about the promotion of a 24-year old prospect who in three previous recalls has never played in more than three consecutive games or received more than 14:03 of ice-time in a game – with most of those minutes being played in a fourth line capacity.
Fair or not, Hoffman simply hasn’t earned the trust of the coaching staff to be played regularly on one of the team’s top lines and now that the Senators are fighting for their playoff lives, it’s difficult to believe that he’s going to receive a larger opportunity now than he has in the past.
There may be an argument to be made that this could simply amount to a small showcase before the league’s March 5th trade deadline, but he’s been in the AHL for so many years now that it’s safe to assume that most teams have had an extended look of what he can do as a pro.
Of note, Stephane Da Costa was an emergency recall before the Olympic break, so the organization did not have to put him through waivers to return him to the AHL. It remains to be seen whether the Senators are in an emergency situation now. In other words, if the Senators want to send Hoffman down, the Senators will have to risk exposing him to waivers – assuming of course that they won’t be able to move him in a trade.
Oh the drama of it all…
The Senators practice at 11:00 am this morning, so we’ll have to wait and see where Hoffman fits in during the team’s line rushes.
More to come…
Update: 10:25 am
It appears I was mistaken earlier when I wrote that Hoffman would need to be put through waivers again if demoted.
Hoffman was demoted during the Senators' training camp and was put through waivers on September 28th - a date that falls within the league's "Playing Season Waiver Period", Now because Hoffman has played fewer than 10 cumulative NHL games since the time that he cleared waivers, he has seven games or 21 more days of being on the parent NHL roster before he loses his waiver exemption.