2005-06: Mike Hoeffel is just one of two members of the 2006-07 U-18 NTDP squad who was not a member of the U-17 squad the year prior. He declined an invitation to join the team, opting to remain a member of his high school team. Playing for the Hill-Murray School (Minnesota), Hoeffel had an astounding season, putting up 73 points (27 goals, 46 assists) and just 20 PIM in only 30 games. He also played for the silver medal winning 2006 USA U-18 Select Team at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament. He ended the tournament with three points (one goal, two assists) in four games.
2006-07: In his first season with the NTDP, the 6’2 winger recorded 23 points (16 goals, seven assists) in 44 games. He also spent 28 minutes in the penalty box. His 16 goals were fifth most on the squad, and he was in the top ten for the NTDP in points, and PPG. Nine of Hoeffel’s 23 points came in 22 games against NCAA opposition (seven goals, two assists). He also recorded 12 PIM against NCAA opponents. He was in the top five on the NTDP in goals (seven) and PPG (3) against NCAA opposition. Though a late season torn ACL somewhat affected his draft status, the New Jersey Devils spent their top pick in him, choosing him 57th overall in the second round of the 2007 NHL Draft.
2007-08: It took awhile for Hoeffel to get things going this season, but once he did, Minnesota reaped the benefits as he made a fairly big splash in his freshman season. Playing in all 45 games, Hoeffel led all Golden Gophers in rookie scoring with nine goals and 10 assists. He excelled on the penalty killing unit, scoring two short handed goals. Hoeffel gradually was able to show various aspects of his game that had scouts raving prior to having been drafted, such as his wonderful skating and physical play.
2008-09: It was a tale of two seasons for Hoeffel, as he did not get off to a great start, but in the second half of the season for the Golden Gophers, after playing for Team USA at the World Junior Championships, he appeared to get his game back on track. In 35 games, he scored 12 goals (third best on the team and six of which were power-play goals) and eight assists to go along with 38 PIM’s. His -12 rating was somewhat disappointing, considering that he is supposed to be a sound defensive forward.
2009-10: Hoeffel continued his slow progression in his third go round with Minnesota, scoring 14 goals and 10 assists. He would be added to the NCAA (WCHA) All Academic Team for the second time in a row.
2010-11: Hoeffel made his professional debut with AHL Albany after concluding his four-year college career at the University of Minnesota. In ten games with Albany he scored 2 goals, both on the power play, and was -1 with 6 PMs. While Hoeffel never put up big offensive numbers during his college career, he led an offensively-challenged Gophers’ squad as a senior with 13 goals (six on the power play) and was a sound, two-way forward. In 35 games with the Gophers, who finished fifth in the WCHA and were eliminated in the first round of the conference tournament, Hoeffel was a +9 plus/minus and also had 11 assists with 24 PMs.
2011-12: Hoeffel skated in 50 games for Devils’ AHL affiliate Albany; filling mostly a lower line, two-way forward checking line role. The season got off to a rough start as he suffered an “upper body injury” in the season-opening game that kept him out of the lineup for nearly seven weeks. Hoeffel scored 5 goals with 4 assists and was minus-eleven with 28 penalty minutes. Albany missed the AHL playoffs for the second straight year; finishing last in the Northeast Division.
2012-13: Hoeffel skated for New Jersey’s AHL affiliate in Albany in his second pro season. In a lower line role with Albany, he was effective on a line with AHL veterans Tim Sestito and Darcy Zajac; playing the sound two-way game that has been a New Jersey trademark. He scored 5 goals with 5 assists in 52 games and was +1 with 37 penalty minutes. Albany missed the AHL playoffs after finishing fourth in the Northeast Division. Hoeffel was re-signed by New Jersey to a one-year contract as a restricted free agent in July, 2013.
Hoeffel has the physical tools to eventually evolve into a two-way, bottom-six checker at the pro level. He has a good size/speed combo and plays with a high-level of energy and spunk. He is well schooled defensively and isn't afraid of getting his nose dirty and getting involved into the high traffic areas. With the right coaching, he could be molded into a very effective penalty-killer. Hoefell has only average hands and doesn't have great finesse or natural offensive skill, but he packs a powerful shot and is quite effective around the net providing screens and pouncing on loose pucks.
Hoeffel found his role with Albany alongside Tim Sestito and Darcy Zajac. The trio provided energy, outmuscling opponents and creating chances down low with gritty work throughout the 2012—2013 season. He has limited upside, but he also has the necessary tools to eventually contribute as role player in the NHL.