Capitals Player Report Card: Scott Hannan

Scott Hannan

Stats: 78 GP, 1 Goal, 10 Assists, 11 Points, +4, 34 PIM
Contract Info: $4,500,000 cap hit, pending UFA
Player Card

Scoring Chance Percentage Rank: 7/29
Defensemen: 2/10
Balanced Corsi: 10/29
Defensemen: 4/10

When the Caps traded for Scott Hannan, fans had a wide range of expectations for him. Some thought that he would be the “big physical shutdown defenseman that we have always needed” while others simply saw him as giving our blue-line more depth, which we needed badly with all of the injuries. I was in the latter camp because I always thought Hannan was a good defensive player, but he’s not Shea Weber (then again, who is?) and the fact that we were able to get him for only Tomas Fleischmann. Hannan certainly fared much better than I thought he would in Washington and proved to be a very durable and reliable defenseman that we needed. However, after taking a closer look at his season, it appears that losing him this off-season may not be as devastating as I thought it would be.

“Solid, steady defenseman” describes Hannan best at this point in his career and that’s just what he was in Washington. You’ll see that he slowly got more even strength ice time as the season went on and led the Caps in ice-time for many games during the middle stretch of the season. Taking a look at his player card, you’ll see that he wasn’t depended on in Washington as much as he was for the Avalanche. He was given less ice time and saw much weaker competition compared to his years in Colorado. but he still logged a lot of minutes on most nights. He also managed to have one of the best scoring chance percentages on the team despite starting over 50% of his draws in the defensive zone, which speaks highly of his ability to prevent opposing chances more than it does to create ones on his own.

Hannan was also one of the few Caps defensemen who were able to stay healthy for most of the year and he became more depended on during the playoffs due to injuries to Mike Green, John Carlson, Dennis Wideman and others but he was able to handle those minutes. He also played well despite lacking a consistent partner for most of the seasons. He was either paired with John Erskine or Jeff Schultz most of the time and neither of those two make an ideal partner but he made due with what he got. In fact, I think Schultz’s play actually in his own zone improved when he was paired with Hannan (still trying to figure out WOWY’s for this season so I can confirm this). I said all season that I would love to have Hannan back next year because our defense corps looks better with him, however if Hannan does leave, our defense corps isn’t crippled.

Taking a look at how he compares to other defensemen on the team in shots allowed per 60 minutes, he ranks about in the middle of the pack. His corsi improved dramatically compared to previous years (probably due to playing for a better team) but if you look at his relative corsi rating, it’s not that impressive. This is mostly because Scott Hannan’s game is very one-dimensional. He’s a solid stay-at-home d-man but not much more than that. He rarely contributes offensively and his stats over his career show that. This isn’t a knock on Hannan’s game at all because he’s not supposed to light up the scoresheet, he’s supposed to be a good defender and that’s what he was this season. I feel that defensive defensemen are very common in the NHL and can be signed for a lot less than Hannan made this year, which is why I believe the Caps losing him isn’t crippling. Is he better than someone like Shaone Morrisonn or Milan Jurcina? Absolutely. Is he irreplaceable? Absolutely not.

Again, I’m not knocking Hannan’s game at all by saying that because he did what he was expected to do and played more minutes than I thought he would so he gets a B+ on the season. I still would like the Caps to bring him back next year but he’s going to have to sign for a lot less than what he’s making now. It seems that over the past few years, teams have been overpaying for defensive defensemen (see Komisarek, Mike) so he could fetch more in the open market after having a good season with Washington but I think the Caps can find someone whose game is similar to his for a lot less money. If he produces at both ends of the ice then that’s a different story.

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