Lots of excitement still from fans in regards to the Canucks signing Dan Hamhuis. To be honest, I have not watched a lot of Predators games since their inception into the NHL, so I couldn't give an in-depth analysis of the Hammer. I decided to ask someone who would know, and who better than Dirk Hoag, a massive Preds fan, and a great writer and hockey statistician from the SBN Predator's site On The Forecheck? Below are the comments and opinions of Mr. Hoag himself and not the Predator's organization.
1. Who did Dan play with the most in Nashville, Weber or Suter?
Neither - he spent most of his time playing with Kevin Klein, a pairing that most Preds fans despised (there was a Twitter meme called #split28 that begged Barry Trotz to separate them). Whenever they were apart, they did fine, but together, it seemed like disastrous breakdowns were always right around the corner.
2. What are your thoughts on the Hamhuis deal with Vancouver? Is Dan worth $4.5 million per season? Were you surprised by the amount given him?
No, he's not worth $4.5 million in an objective sense, but as a UFA in his prime years, he was due to get overpaid - that's what free agency is all about. I wasn't surprised at all and have said for months now that he'd probably get somewhere between $4-5 million on his next deal.
3. Can you tell us Hamhuis' strengths and weaknesses? (For the record, we know he is a great hip checker!)
Strengths - he's a very mobile skater and good at making outlet passes to start the rush.
Weaknesses - in standstill battles along the boards and in front of the net he can get out-muscled by larger forwards.
4. You are a stat master. Are there stats that we can be excited and/or concerned about?
Quite simply, his Shots Against/60 minutes when he's on the ice was the best among Predators defensemen at 24.0 last season, despite facing relatively tough opposition (his QualComp from Behind The Net was 0.20, 2nd among Nashville D). His Points per 60 Minutes in 5-on-5 play (1.01) was also higher than Shea Weber (0.92) and Ryan Suter (0.77). On the downside, it was a surprisingly terrible year on the PK in Nashville, and Hammer had some of the worst results on the team. Among defensemen with 40 GP and at least 2.0 minutes per game in 4-on-5, his Goals Against/60 (8.76) was 8th-worst in the NHL, right along his partner in crime, Kevin Klein (9.26).
5. Hamhuis put up 60 points in 59 games with the PG Cougars of the WHL in 2002 and then 51 points in 76 games with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL in 2005. In 5 years since then his NHL production is nowhere near those totals. Why is that?
I think most of that has to do with power play opportunity - he doesn't get much in Nashville, and the Predators have had a chronically poor PP for years. In 5-on-5 play he collects points at a solid rate, but the PP here involves mostly setting up Shea Weber for a one-timer, and Hamhuis is used more on the PK.
6. Do you believe that Hamhuis will score more points in Vancouver due to the calibre of talent that surrounds him? Or is he better in a more defensive role?
This will depend on whether there's a spot on the power play available. I think he can be a decent puck-mover from the point, but is more of a 2nd-unit guy than a true PP quarterback. I wouldn't look for double-digit goals out of him, but could certainly see his assist totals taking a jump if he gets to support the Sedin line a decent amount.
A huge thanks to Mr. Hoag for giving up some of his time to answer my questions. I hope you find the answers useful. Hoag gave honest answers in descriptive form which I really appreciate and hope you do too.
Once again, Dirk Hoag's website: On The Forecheck
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