Fantasy Take: Montreal Signs Sniper in Mike Hoffman

Michael Clifford

2021-07-28

For about as long as I can remember – which is to about three hours ago – the Montreal Canadiens have had a terrible power play. The best it has been in recent seasons was mid-pack in the postseason this year. For the last several years, we're looking at a team in the bottom-half, if not the bottom five or six teams, in the league.

The team is hoping that will change with their newest signing:

Hoffman seems effectively a replacement for Tomas Tatar, whom I can't imagine is re-signing with the team after their treatment of him in the postseason. He steps into this roster to do one thing: score goals on the power play. And that's great, because he can't really do anything else.

None of Hoffman's transition metrics from 2017-20 graded out in the 75th percentile or above, meaning none graded out to top-line quality. (He turns 32 in November.) That is probably why, over that span, both his offensive and defensive impacts were below average, the latter well below average. He was great on the power play, of that there is no doubt. But he was not good at helping his teammates score or cycle.

Moving to this year, more of the same. His shot-assist rate was about 33 percent below league average, so that didn't get better. His defensive impacts did improve, but it was at the expense of his offensive impacts so he didn't really get any better as a player. The power-play production was still great, though.

The problem for Montreal is the loss of Phillip Danault. At this point, Nick Suzuki is now their shutdown centre and that means Hoffman won't be playing with him. He will likely play with Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who really hasn't solidified himself as a top-6 centre yet. Suppose Kotkaniemi struggles again and they can't play Hoffman with Suzuki because they're just using him in a shutdown role at that point. Hoffman is left with… Jake Evans? Cedric Paquette?

That is the problem here. Outside of Suzuki, there is not a centre on this team that can carry Hoffman (which he needs) and that probably leads to very poor 5-on-5 defensive numbers. The question is if Hoffman can outscore the inevitable defensive liabilities. We will see.

This isn't a good move for him fantasy-wise, either. Montreal just spreads their