Reports indicate that defenseman Dan Hamhuis, whose contract expires this summer, will stay with the team through the end of this season after the Trade Deadline passed this afternoon. Another trade might still be in the works, but multiple outlets are reporting that Hamhuis will not be moved.
|2009 - Dan Hamhuis||58||4||13||17||2||40||0||0||0||0||84||4.8|
A solid two-way blueliner who was invited to Team Canada's Olympic orientation came last summer, Hamhuis typically faces the other team's top forwards (as measured by Behind the Net's Quality of Competition metric). As a six-year veteran headed to unrestricted free agency, it's been widely expected that his future salary doesn't fit with the Predators budget going forward, given both his talent level and his history of difficult negotiations with the Preds in the past. In light of that, the conventional wisdom had him being traded, especially since Denis Grebeshkov (and his $3.15 million salary) was brought in earlier this week from Edmonton.
This season, his pairing with Kevin Klein has come under a great deal of criticism from Predators fans, and for good reason. Using data from Vic Ferrari's TimeOnIce.com, when Hamhuis and Klein have been paired at even strength this season, the Preds have scored 23 goals but given up 32 (when #2 and #8 aren't out there together, the team does better than break-even). Most notably, Nashville's combined Save Percentage behind the Klein/Hamhuis duo at even strength has been an abysmal .881; while some might say that's a short-term statistical blip, this trend has persisted all season, and demonstrates the defensive breakdowns that occurred all too often between the two.
Outside of that pairing with Klein, however, Hamhuis has been an excellent defenseman for Nashville in his six seasons, a prime example of the Predators' reputation for drafting and developing quality blueliners (he was a 1st-round selection in 2001, 12th overall). Assuming he hits the free agent market this summer, he could get something around $4 million per season in his next contract. Hamhuis is probably glad to stay put, however, as his wife just delivered their second child recently.
This sets the Predators up with one of the deepest and most talented set of defensemen in the entire NHL as the playoff chase continues.
GM David Poile had stated that he wanted a player in return for Hamhuis that could help the team this year, and typically teams that pick up top defensemen are looking to make a playoff run of their own, and offer up prospects and draft picks in exchange. Several teams were mentioned as having made offers, but none apparently held enough current hockey value.
It should be noted that Poile still might be able to obtain something for Hamhuis even if he doesn't plan on re-signing him. After the 2007 season, he traded the rights to upcoming free agents Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen to Philadelphia in return for a 1st-round pick.
The Preds play their next home game Thursday, March 4 against the Los Angeles Kings. For cheap tickets to this, or any Nashville Predators home game, follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".