From Alzner to Wideman, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2010-11 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2011-12. Next up, Scott Hannan.
#23 / Defenseman / Washington Capitals
Jan 23, 1979
$4,500,000 in 2010-11; UFA this summer
|Regular Season (COL)||23||0||6||6||1||6||0||0
|Regular Season (WSH)||55||1||4||5||3||28||0||0
|Regular Season (TOT)||78||1||10||11||4||34||0||0
Key Stat: Hannan went 16 straight games without being on the ice for a 4-on-5 goal against in mid-winter, a streak curiously broken by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Interesting Stat: Tied for the second-most blocked shots on the team (20) in the post-season.
The Good: Adrian Dater, long-time Avalanche beat writer for the Denver Post, wrote of Hannan's three-season tenure in Colorado, on the day of the late November 2010 trade that sent Hannan to D.C. for forward Tomas Fleischmann: "He was uber-durable, never whined about anything and always seemed to give a good effort out there."
And durable he was. You might even say that he was virtually the last defenseman left standing by the end of the second round of the playoffs. He certainly carried the load following multiple blue line injuries, second in even-strength ice time only to John Carlson and, by far, logging the most PK minutes in the second season.
Brought into the fold by General Manager George McPhee to "complete [the Caps'] defense," Hannan spent the most time on the penalty kill amongst all Caps defenders in 2010-11 (including 23 GP as a member of the Avs), while the team vaulted into the second-best PK% in the circuit (after a 25th-best showing in 2009-10). While his full-season GAON/60 at 4-on-5 suggests a middle-of-the-road penalty killing effort, 12 of the 20 power play goals against suffered by his team occurred while he was on the kill for Colorado. Taking only his performance as a Capital in 2010-11 into account, he finished at nearly the best amongst Caps blueliners in that key statistic.
Hannan was solid at even strength during the regular season in a Caps' sweater as well, assembling two separate streaks of more than 10 contests in which he avoided a minus rating. And while suffering a minus-9 during the Caps' eight-game skid in December, which coincided with his arrival in D.C., Hannan finished the rest of the season with a plus-11 rating.
McPhee also coveted Hannan for his leadership qualities, and the veteran of over 800 regular season games and, now, 82 playoff games appeared to provide an even keel to a team that had been described as mentally "fragile":
You can have good games, you can have bad games, but you want to try to stay on an even track. That's what it is in the playoffs, you're going to go through things in a seven-game series that can get you down and you can't let it get you down or away from the plan. Running into a hot goalie can't be something that gets you down, you have to work hard and do the things that it takes to score on goalies like that. That comes down to doing the little things right, day in and day out. That's what wins championships.
Unfortunately, the steadying presence of #23 did not forestall the swift collapse, featuring many little things not done right, tumbling along the rapids of "river hockey" toward a second-round sweep.
The Bad: In the playoffs, Hannan -- along with Jeff Schultz -- seemed overextended in ice time and, on occasion, overmatched by the speed and shiftiness of Tampa's forwards. He was beaten to the net at least three times for pivotal Lightning goals in that second-round series, during the late stages of the second period or third period of games in which he skated more than 20 minutes (and once by Brandon Dubinsky for a Rangers' GWG in the final two minutes of Game 3 that got the opponents temporarily back in the first-round series).
Though never known for his offensive presence, Hannan took fewer shots per game than any Caps' defender not named . In a season where even John Erskine took 0.8 S/G and potted four pucks, that's abysmal. Especially for a defenseman earning his sizable paycheck.
The Vote: Rate Hannan below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Discussion: Do the Caps need another no-frills stay-at-homer in Hannan, and at what price? How much of the team's PK consistency can be attributed to #23? Could Hannan and Green make an effective pair in 2011-12?