Capitals Assistant GM Ross Mahoney “Really Pleased” With Ryan Hofer’s Progress

He was passed over in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft before the Washington Capitals finally selected him in the sixth round (#181 overall) of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. But that’s been a source of motivation for forward Ryan Hofer. He feels he has something to prove.

“There’s always that kind of thought in your head,” Hofer told “I’m really thankful Washington took the chance and drafted me, so I’m thankful for that. But I also still feel I have something to prove too. I feel like I’m a really good player and kind of just go out every night and work my hardest and try to prove people wrong.”

Hofer is playing in his third season in the WHL as an “overager” for the Kamloops Blazers, and will be looking to make the jump to Hershey in September. Hofer knows there are things he still needs to work on to reach the NHL, including adding strength and improving his skating.

“He’s relentless in his puck pursuit and he’s a physical player,” Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said. “And I would say that he’s got a good shot. He’s probably been working on his skill, even more this year, because he’s always had kind of a physical aspect to his game. And he plays hard; he’s a pretty intense guy. He seems like a physical player, but he’s probably working more on his skill level, on his hands and his shot.”

Mahoney, who hails from the Pacific Northwest, has established a steady stream of draft picks from the WHL in recent years, with the likes of Vincent Iorio, Dru Krebs, Bear Hughes, Garin Bjorklund, Aliaksei Protas, Brett Leason, Alex Alexeyev and Riley Sutter, all drafted in the last five years alone.

Mahoney feels Hofer, the latest in the Capitals WHL pipeline, has benefited from a recent change in his role on the team.

“He’s playing a lot of big minutes, a lot of responsibility and more of an offensive role. Last year was more of a two-way checking, hardworking guy, and I think it’s been really good for him as far as his development. We’re really pleased with how he’s doing.”

Hofer, a 6-foot-3, 184-pound center has posted 33 goals and 18 assists in 48 games (1.06 pts/gm) played so far this season. He’s shot the puck 215 times for a 15.34% shooting percentage. He’s also recorded two hat-tricks in his 2022-23 campaign.

Hofer and teammate Olen Zellweger were traded from the Everett Silvertips to the Kamloops Blazers, hosts of the 2023 Memorial Cup, on January 8. As the host team, Kamloops is guaranteed a berth in the four-team tournament, along with the champions of the OHL, QMJHL and WHL. It will be held May 25-June 4.

“I think anytime you play in a high level of competition, like the World Juniors or Memorial Cup, NCAA Final Four, that sort of thing, I think it’s just a really good experience for them because of the pressure and the intensity,” Mahoney said. “I think that really helps speed up your development because you’re able to play in that very intense and high-level atmosphere.”

Hofer and the Blazers return to action on Friday night when the visit Rebels in Red Deer.

By Jon Sorensen

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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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2 Responses to Capitals Assistant GM Ross Mahoney “Really Pleased” With Ryan Hofer’s Progress

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m probably one of the few, but feel Hofer has the makeup for the next level. At least the AHL. His game already resembles much of what is required in the AHL.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen his play. He can do damage in Hershey next season.

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