Screen cap: Kamloops Blazers
Washington Capitals forward prospect Ryan Hofer and the Kamloops Blazers completed their first-round series sweep of the Vancouver Giants on Thursday night. Hofer scored two goals in the 5-4 overtime victory, giving him fives goals and an assist in the four games played.
Hofer’s first marker on Thursday night came at 6:51 of the first period, tying the game 1-1. He would redirect a shot from the point for the score.
Ryan Hofer gets a stick on it and evens the score for the @blazerhockey!@Capitals | #WHLPlayoffs | #FeedingtheFuture pic.twitter.com/IAV0xhcCJZ
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 7, 2023
Hofer’s second tally also came in the first period at 16:23. He knocked home a bouncing puck to give the Blazers a 2-1 lead, and giving him three points in the first period.
Ryan Hofer’s second tally in the first period. He has 5 goals in the first round so far. #ALLCAPS #HBH pic.twitter.com/jXoyrOyAXk
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) April 7, 2023
Hofer recorded 40 goals and 28 assists in 66 games played in the 2022-23 regular season. He is playing in his third season in the WHL as an “overager” for the Kamloops Blazers, and will be making the jump to Hershey in September.
“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 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 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.
The Capitals signed Hofer to a three-year entry-level deal on March 1, the first day to register entry-level contracts for 2023-24. Hofer’s contract will carry an average annual value of $851,666.67 (NHL) and $82,500 in the AHL.
By Jon Sorensen
Could Hofes be the next Tom Wison?
Plays a very similar style of game. Good analogy.
One problem is that Hofer plays center, while Wilson plays wing
But I’ve said before, and it bears repeating: I think Hofer’s future, in the pros, is on the wing. He’s a sniper, rarely looks for teammates to pass, has a big body that is suited for grinding. Everything about his play screams wing.
I’ll take that! Thanks.
It will be interesting to see what happens when he plays against men and no longer has a significant size/strength advantage. I’m hoping Hofer develops into a solid NHL player, but I’m not ready to anoint him the next Tom Wilson. Wilson is a bit of a freak — way stronger than everybody else as a junior, but was able to carry that advantage into the NHL and use it effectively. On the other hand, I’ve seen lots of larger CHL players who dominated at that level turn out to be career AHL players — at best — once they came up against guys their own size.
My reference was to style of play. He will move to wing in September, and we’ll see what he can do. I will say his game is primed for AHL style, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits the ground running. Whether he makes the next jump is a ways off before we can determine.
Nobody messes with The Hof