The return of Dan Hamhuis to Nashville wasn’t exactly overwhelming. The veteran defender, originally drafted by Nashville, returned to a gold jersey after several seasons with Vancouver and Dallas. Primarily acquired to take down third-pairing minutes, Hamhuis was a serviceable addition to the third pairing.
Hamhuis’ biggest role, however, was mentoring and guiding the young Dante Fabbro as he stepped into the NHL spotlight.
The smooth-skating defender is 36 years old. He missed significant time due to injury (see below). He spent a good amount of time with Mattias Ekholm while P.K. Subban was injured, and he again provided some serviceable minutes in a second-pairing role. In 57 games with the Predators, Hamhuis scored 5 assists.
Hamhuis provided mentorship for young Dante Fabbro when he arrived in Nashville. This article detailed how Hamhuis opened his home to Fabbro for home-cooked meals and led the young defender on and off the ice.
Hamhuis assisted in Fabbro’s first goal of the year by disrupting the play of Chicago forward Alex DeBrincat. Filip Forsberg dished the puck to Fabbro and he scored. What a way to get the kid’s first goal...and his mentor helped make it happen.
With Dante Fabbro expected to play on the second pairing, Hamhuis will once again provide a stable presence with one of Matt Irwin, Yannick Weber, Steven Santini, or a potential call-up on the third pairing.
He was the only “full-time” Predator with zero goals this season. Hamhuis provides veteran experience and leadership, but he’s not going to astound us with his on-ice skill. Hopefully he can put together a healthier season.
Grading Hamhuis isn’t difficult. He didn’t “wow” us, but he also wasn’t visibly awful. Average defender, average play, above-average age.