Canucks Player Autopsy: Dan Hamhuis

Rich Lam

Sharpen your scalpels and snap on a pair of rubber gloves: it's time to dissect the Canucks 2013 season on a player-by-player basis. You might want to wear facial protection, this could get messy.

WHO IS THIS GUY?

Dan Hamhuis (aka Hammer, Ham Damhuis, Ham Solo. Or, Hammer Time! when he scores or decks somebody)

Born: Smithers, BC. Paradise. Only cool cats are born here.

Drafted: 12th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2001. Yes, the Predators draft defencemen better than Jewel sings.

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 209 lbs

Contract Status: 3 more years left on his current contract.

Cap Hit: $4,500,000

WHAT DID HE DO?

This is going to sound like a Smithers bias, but I do believe Hamhuis was the Canucks' best defenceman this past season. It was supposed to be Alexander Edler but...nope. I think that Hamhuis was better defensively than any Canuck. I know he had some stellar numbers defensively and offensively. Let's take a closer look.

I will only say a little about the Round 1 exit. Hamhuis scored 1 goal and 2 points in 4 games, which was more than any of the Canucks defenceman. His even +/- was second only to Jason Garrison...another BC Boy. His 9 hits ranked him 7th on the team in the playoffs. His 8 penalty minutes tied him for 2nd with Kevin Bieksa. Only that goon Daniel Sedin had more PIMs.

But f*** the playoffs. Let's look at the regular season.

Hammer played 47 of 48 games this season. He scored 4 goals and 24 points, which was 5th best on the team and the most amongst Canucks defencemen. His .51 points per game was better than his .45 points per game in 2011-12. Edler had 22 points and >500,000 death threats. Hamhuis' 20 assists ranked him 3rd on the team behind the brothers Sedin. Impressive. He scored 2 goals and 8 points in the month of April. One of his goals was shorthanded. He used the Force on the Coyotes:

His other 3 goals:

Versus Calgary:

Versus the Kings (Burrows assists on this one too):

Versus the Ducks:

His +9 ranked him 6th on the team and 2nd amongst the defencemen. He was +4 in home games and +5 on the road. Jason Garrison was an astounding +18. Maybe Garrison was the best defensively.....hard to say. From a bit of a different perspective, the team scored 48 goals while Hammer was on the ice, which ranked him 4th. But Hammer was rock bottom when it came to goals scored against while he was on the ice. Hamhuis and Garrison were where on the ice for 14 power play goals scored against, which was most on the team, but keep in mind that those 2 played a hell of a lot of penalty kill minutes.

Dan averaged 23:23 ice time per game which was 2nd only to Alexander Edler. With all that ice time he was only 10th on the team with 61 shots (4th amongst the defencemen). I have a theory on that mediocrity but I will save it for a section below.

He averaged 2:12 on the power play, which was less than Edler and Garrison. If I recall correctly, he was never consistently on the top unit or 2nd unit. He was bounced around.

Only Chris Tanev had less penalty minutes than Hamhuis (10 PIMs to Dan's 12). That is more disciplined than he has been in the past by a small margin.

I like NHL.com's real-time stats, but I don't really trust the totals, or those counting them. Regardless of that, here are some more stats:

-Hamhuis' 47 hits ranked him 8th on the team.

-His 63 blocked shots ranked him 2nd behind Edler.

-His 43 missed shots ranked him 3rd.

-His 31 giveaways were the most on the team. Damn it, Dan! No, wait. The stat guys are full of shit.

-His 20 takeaways ranked him 3rd.

If you are an advanced stats buff then head over to Behind The Net to see where Hammer ranks with CORSI, PDO, etc. One thing that stands out to me, and I don't think that it's a surprise to anyone, is that Hamhuis plays a lot of minutes against the other teams' top lines. If I am getting those stats correct, he played more against the other teams' top players than any other Canucks defenceman.

The team's on ice shooting percentage was high with him on the ice (yea man, that happens when you play with the Sedins) however, the team's on-ice save percentage while he was on the ice was low. Interestingly, follow that link and look where Ryan Kesler placed. Huh.

If you are looking for some kind of predictability factor, then you can look at the PDO. Hamhuis slots into the category of perhaps regressing a little, but not much. I don't follow those advanced stats, so I refuse to explain an of them. As if that PDO is accurate anyway. Malarkey! Phooey! Get off my damned lawn!

COOL, SO WHAT DID WE HATE?

Well I can tell you what I hated. I hated Hammer's lack of Hammer Time. Like so many other Canucks, there was a lack of hard - nosed play. A lack of aggression. Whatever happened to this:

Or this?

I guess that's a low hit, or low-bridging nowadays so the team stopped doing it? It sucks. I liked that edge in Hamhuis and the Canucks' game. Maybe its that BC pot turning them into the passifists of the Pacific? I have no idea. Oh wait, it's the lack of Aaron Rome and Raffi Torres leading by example.

Another thing I hate about Hamhuis' game is how often he shoots the puck wide on the power play. Sometimes it's an intentional set play. Other times it's a miss. Either way I hate it. Shoot it on net, damn it!

SO, WHAT NOW?

For the life of me, I cannot remember why the beloved Hamhuis-Bieksa duo of doom was ever split up. It was gold in the 2011 Playoffs. They were an amazing shutdown pair. I blame Edler. And Ehrhoff.

Hamhuis is a smart and generally composed player who will continue to be a top 4 d-man for this team. He does a lot of little things right. Beauty sweep checks. Good breakout passes. Reliable with big minutes. Just play with more tenacity, Hammer.

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