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Mike Hoffman’s Play To Help Canadiens In More Ways Than One

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman has seemingly found his scoring touch again and that is good news for the team, in more ways than one.

Hoffman had been snake-bitten to start the season, showing great underlying numbers, but ultimately having very little offensive contribution to show for it.

His inconsistent offensive play earned him a trip to the press box, as head coach Martin St-Louis saw fit to scratch the 32-year-old in favour of the many other veterans on the roster.

Since returning to the lineup, Hoffman has been solid for the Canadiens and that is likely to help them in a few ways:

 

Some Secondary Scoring

It almost seems like missing those two games lit a fire under Hoffman, and it’s helped him provide the club with some much-needed secondary scoring.

Since Hoffman has been reinserted into the lineup, he’s posted four goals in five games; with two of them being game-winning markers.

Since his return, he’s had the best underlying numbers on the team, posting an impressive 58%(xGF%) expect goal differential; combining a more consistent offensive game with notable improvements in the neutral and defensive zone.

It has provided the Canadiens’ dominant top line fo Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Kirby Dach with some good support, as the Canadiens’ win against the Detroit Red Wings was the first Canadiens victory this season that didn’t include contributions from their top trio.

Instead, it was big goals from Hoffman off the rush, a result of good effort and some strong puck support, that sealed the deal.

 

 

Stable Second Line

Since coming back into the lineup, Hoffman was placed with Brendan Gallagher and Christian Dvorak, both of whom were lacking consistency in their offensive and defensive games.

Prior to joining their line, Gallagher and Dvorak as a duo did produce more offensive chances in bulk, but it often came at the detriment of their defensive outcomes as well.

This is evidenced by their 4.51(xGF) expected goals for and their concerning 4.86(xGA) expected goals against, bringing them to a 48.12%(xGF%) expected goals differential.

Since being linked up with Hoffman, there is far more balance on this line; and the underlying numbers show positive signs for sustainable success.

Their expected goals for may have dropped a little to 1.95 (xGF), but their expected goals against dropped even further to a 1.56 (xGA), giving them a solid differential of 55.44% (xGF%).

Anytime a line finds itself over 50%, you know you have a recipe for success.

 

Improve Market Value

And, of course, given Montreal Canadiens general manaher Kent Hughes‘ desire to solve their current forward logjam, you can’t talk about Hoffman’s recent performances without discussing how these numbers are sure to catch the eye of rival general managers who are looking for scoring.

Teams like the Calgary Flames, just as an example, are actively looking for some goalscoring, and Hoffman fits that profile.

Hoffman was once a very valuable player around the league, and his offensive prowess has been notable throughout his career. If he and his linemates can continue to find success moving forward, it will be a big help to Hughes in being able to prop up some of his veterans in case the right deal comes along.

Now, that doesn’t mean the Canadiens have to trade Hoffman, as he still has another year left on his contract; but it may prompt a team to take a chance on him; just as the Pittsburgh Penguins took a flyer on Jeff Petry after a strong end to the season last year.

Regardless of the outcome, a consistent Mike Hoffman makes things a little easier for the Montreal Canadiens if the right opportunity ever arises.

 

Montreal Canadiens Linked To Calgary Flames, Options For Trade

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