Hoffman vs. Kadri – A Tale Of Two Cities

With Ottawa not being the centre of the hockey media universe, Sens prospect Mike Hoffman (2009/5-130th) has flown under the media radar, but comes into this season after having posted a great 2009/10 junior season, in which he was named the QMJHL MVP, Sportsman of the Year, and a finalist for the CHL player of the year.

With Toronto being the centre of the hockey media universe, Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri (2009/1-7th), has flown directly into the radar of the media, and comes into this season after having posted a great 2009/10 junior season, and having won a silver medal in the 2010, U-20, WJC.

But, apart from media attention, and draft position, the similarities of these 2 players is remarkable.

Nazem Kadri

Born Oct 6 1990 — London, ONT
Height 6.00 — Weight 167 — Shoots L

09/10 OHL – 56GP – 35g – 58a – 93 pts – 105 PIM

Mike Hoffman

Born Nov 24 1989 — Kitchener, ONT
Height 6.00 — Weight 175 — Shoots L

08/09 QMJHL – 62GP – 52g – 42a – 94 pts – 86 PIM (same age as Kadri)

09/10 QMJHL – 56GP – 46g – 39a – 85 pts – 38 PIM

The biggest difference between these two players remains the teams that drafted them.  One, the Leafs, is hounded by national media attention, and all but entirely lacking in top offensive talent, at either the NHL, or prospect level.  This combination has made for a perfect storm of hype surrounding Nazem Kadri.  Simply put the downtrodden Leafs nation is desperate for something to look forward to, and as it stands, there is little beyond Kadri to fill this need.  As such, he has been made into the Leafs version of Steven Stamkos, and any positive puffed up to its maximum potential.

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, Hoffman faces a tough climb to even emerge as the teams top rated forward prospect, let alone franchise prospect.  His exploits remain all but ignored by the national media, and, apart from the die hard fans of the team, a name few NHL hockey fans recognize.

Put Kadri and Hoffman in the same sentence, and most NHL fans, even if by default, would cry foul.

That is the power of the media, when playing up to the eager desperation of Leafs Nation.  One player is hyped to the point of near hysteria, while another is all but ignored, performances be damned.

Yeah, nothing new there…look no further than Schenn vs. Karlsson, and this new pair of prospects may well prove to be the same.  One heralded as a franchise player, the other looked upon with a healthy dose of skepticism, if even noticed at all.

The fact is, both players have displayed tremendous junior performances, and both have a good chance at being impact players at the NHL level.  But, Hoffman will be forced to earn a reputation, while Kadri will be forced to live up to the one already bestowed upon him.

What does the future hold for these two prospects?  Who knows, but no doubt Hoffman will have to claw his way into the NHL, let alone into prime ice time, while Kadri will be thrust into the NHL and tasked with being a difference maker, for a franchise, fan base, and media, desperately seeking one

Sometimes too much of a good thing, will be a bad thing, for both of these prospects.



2 Responses to “Hoffman vs. Kadri – A Tale Of Two Cities”

  1. There is more to a prospect than goals and points and historically the QMJHL has produced a lot of high scoring players that don’t progress to the NHL level so I’d be cautious there. There are reasons why every team passed over Hoffman several times and why Bryan Murray himself wanted to trade up to select Kadri. Will either become NHL stars, or even NHL regulars? I don’t know. But if you polled 1000 hockey people (not media) I’d bet 1000 would take Kadri over Hoffman without even thinking about it.

    As for Schenn vs Karlsson, apparently you missed last year when many people began to question whether Schenn would develop into a top defensemen or not. Many people soured on him greatly and some even pretty much wrote him off. As for Karlsson, no one ever questioned his talent and skill, only his size, and that is a legitimate concern. He is quite small for an NHL defenseman. Schenn and Karlsson are pretty much polar opposites in terms of playing style.

    • The Q vs O scoring issue is primarily an urban legend, not hard fact. Both leagues have generated high scorers who have failed to replicate the same in the NHL, and both have generated high scorers who have gone on to do the same in the NHL.
      I would think being voted league MVP, while not being the league leader in scoring, says a lot about these intangibles you refer to when judging a prospect.
      Hoffman was, and continues to be, a late bloomer, which is why he was “over-looked”. Judging a prospect on where they were drafted, as some sort of static indication of prospect quality, vs current performance, is simply foolish.
      As for Murray trying to trade up to land Kadri, that’s patently un-true, in fact, Burke was frantically trying to trade up in that 1st round…what does that say about Kadri? I think you’re mistaking Burkes lame attempt at strong arming Murray, before selecting Kadri, as an indication that Murray wanted Kadri. What was Murray supposed to say, to a competing GM, “nah, I’ll take Cowen actually”? Murray wanted MPS or Cowen ahead of Kadri, that’s why he didn’t bite when Burke lamely attempted to trade his pick away. Do you think Burke went to Murray just to rub it in? No, he wasn’t locked on Kadri either, and was willing to trade his pick, if he could get something for it. Murray wasn’t interested…pretty much says it all.
      Poll 1000, and all 1000 would take Kadri? That’s a pretty brave bet, and I’d gladly take it, unfortunately its pure hyperbole as some sort of statement of fact, either way.
      Poll those 1000 and ask if the gap between their respective media attention, vs ability, is accurate. That was my point.
      Again, Schenn vs Karlsson is a matter of attention vs performance. Schenn was heralded as a blooming franchise D-man, with talk of Rookie of the year prospects, and impending Norris trophy nominations, while Karlsson was (and continues to be) viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism…which is my point of how the media can spin a prospects potential well out of proportion of reality, or, inversely, make a prospect appear all but irrelevant, when actual performance indicates a much closer relationship to the very one they’re heaping with praise and attention.
      Who is the better prospect?
      Only time will tell, but even then, unless they’re given equal opportunities, it’s still a debate. Opportunity is the mother of success.

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