Sharks Outlook: Hannan could have diminished role

Sharks Outlook: Hannan could have diminished role
September 2, 2014, 12:45 pm
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In the playoffs, veteran Scott Hannan skated in all seven games against the Kings with two assists and a +1 rating. (USATSI)

SHARKS OUTLOOK

D Justin Braun 
F Mike Brown
F Adam Burish
D Brent Burns
F Logan Couture
D Jason Demers
F Andrew Desjardins
F Freddie Hamilton
D Scott Hannan
Tomas Hertl - Sep. 3
Matt Irwin - Sep. 4
Tyler Kennedy - Sep. 5
Patrick Marleau - Sep. 6
Micro Mueller - Sep. 7
Antti Niemi - Sep. 8
Matt Nieto - Sep. 9
Joe Pavelski - Sep. 10
John Scott - Sep. 11
James Sheppard - Sep. 12
Alex Stalock - Sep. 13
Joe Thornton - Sep. 14
Raffi Torres - Sep. 15
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Sep. 16
Tommy Wingels - Sep. 17

Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Insider Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player every day leading up to the start of NHL training camp.

Name/Position: Scott Hannan, defenseman

Age: 35

Salary: $1 million

Contract status: Pending unrestricted free agent

2013-14 year in review: Scott Hannan got into 56 regular season games last season, posting three goals and adding nine assists for 12 points and 55 penalty minutes. He’s not a flashy guy by any means but he gave the team some good minutes, especially early in the season when he suited up for 28 of the first 29 games. Hannan spent an average of one minute and 52 seconds on the penalty kill, fourth on the team. In the playoffs, the veteran skated in all seven games against the Kings with two assists and a +1 rating.

2014-15 outlook: There were some eyebrows raised when Hannan re-signed with the Sharks this offseason, as bringing back a 35-year-old when management’s aim is to become a younger team seems irrational. It's a valid question.

There are some reasons why it may make sense, though. After Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the Sharks have some question marks on the left side of the defense. Matt Irwin has struggled to stay in the lineup on a nightly basis, and former first round pick Mirco Mueller may not be NHL-ready. Hannan, now the only defenseman on the roster over 30, can step in if needed and perhaps help some of the prospects along in the early stages of their careers as his own career winds down.

The biggest risk with Hannan may be his health. He missed five games with an unspecified upper body injury in December, seven games in late January after a high hit from Detroit’s Danny Cleary, and another game in April after Colorado’s Patrick Bordeleau got him in the noggin. Hannan had a suspected concussion when he was acquired from Nashville on April 3, 2013, too.

Hannan has played 997 career NHL games, so he’ll reach a major career milestone at some point this season when he plays in his 1000th game. It could come early, or he may have to wait a few weeks, depending on how the blue line shakes out in training camp.