2017-18 Team: Swift Current Broncos (#30)
Date of Birth: July 30, 2000
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 157 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- THW (Pike’s Picks): not in top 125 (final)
- Future Considerations: not in top 100 (final)
- ISS: not in top 31 (May)
- Bob McKenzie: not in top 93 (final)
- Craig Button: not in top 100 (final)
It’s a challenge to be a goaltender in junior hockey. Typically teams lean on older players as their starters, typically 19 and 20 year olds, so it’s uncommon for goaltenders in their draft eligible season to have a huge role or to get a lot of reps in. But the next best thing to playing a lot is being in line for a starting role, which is the case for Swift Current Broncos goaltender Joel Hofer.
Originally undrafted in the WHL, Hofer worked his way into the Broncos plans over the last year. He served as backup first to Logan Flodell and later to Stuart Skinner throughout the season, helping his team capture the WHL championship. With Skinner entering his 20-year-old season and graduating to the pros after signing with the Oilers, Hofer’s in line to be a starter with a strong WHL club. He’s in an enviable spot.
While Hofer will be in a strong position to develop, he’s beginning from a strong position. As a July 2000 birthday, he’s one of the youngest first-time eligible players in the entire 2018 class. He only played 19 games last season, but he had strong underlying numbers. His .914 save percentage was one of the best in the entire WHL, behind only Everett starter Carter Hart, Everett backup Dustin Wolf (eligible for next year’s draft) and Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. Even if he doesn’t get better – and his level of experience suggests that he will – his results so far are very encouraging.
Related: THW’s 2018 NHL Draft Guide
A few 2018-eligible goaltenders from the WHL played more and saw more shots than Hofer – Regina’s Max Paddock and Vancouver’s David Tendeck. But Hofer had the challenge of being a tandem-mate with a pair of the WHL’s best starters in Flodell and Skinner and was every bit their equal performance-wise. He’ll be the starter for one of the WHL’s best clubs in 2018-19, so there’s a potential for a big breakout season.
Joel Hofer – NHL Draft Projection
As a soon-to-be starter on a strong team, Hofer seems like a good bet to be selected in one of the late rounds; potentially the fifth, sixth or seventh round. A late pick on a goaltender that will be playing a lot in the near-future is a low-risk proposition.
Joel Hofer with 41 saves and shuts the door in the shootout to win it for Swift. Calm and patient goalie with great poise. Plays big in the net and has quick reactions. Reads plays better than most.
— CP (@DraftGeekCP) November 19, 2017
- Good anticipation and quick reactions
- Calm, cool and collected in net (which helps him conserve energy)
- Uses his size and positioning well in the crease
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Still very raw, needs to keep developing his game
- Needs to play more and see more shots to build his skill-set
- Unclear how he’ll respond to a starter’s workload
Other 2018 NHL Draft Profiles
Hofer projects as a backup goaltender at the pro level, though his upside could become higher with additional WHL success.
Risk – 1.5/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Hofer has not yet represented Canada in a major tournament or won a major individual award. He was the backup goaltender for Swift Current’s WHL Championship team.