Born and raised in British Columbia, Dan Hamhuis is a consummate professional on and off the ice, and has proven time and time again, his worth in a hockey-crazed market. He is the rare case of a British Columbia-born top free agent making the plunge to return home in past years. (But Sakic, Niedermayer(s), Franson and Kariya will come here eventually, right?). His absence was felt when he was knocked out of the lineup in 2011, and will go down as one of the true fan favourites in Canucks lore.
Hamhuis went from being an undrafted member of the Prince George Cougars, to being drafted 12th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2001. He went undrafted due to injuries early on, but he earned the respect of his peers and coaches, being named the captain for the CHL Prospects Team in his draft year. After being drafted by Nashville, and not making the team, he returned for a final year in Prince George and did not disappoint. He had 60 points in 59 games as a defenceman, and was given MVP and top defenceman honours. He was the first player to win both awards since 1977.
The following season was spent with the Predators affiliate in Milwaukee, and in the 2003-04 season he made the Predators out of camp. During his first year with the team, he made the 2004 Young Stars team and helped the Preds to the playoffs for the first time in history. Unfortunately for them they played the Detroit Red Wings and did not continue on in the playoffs for obvious reasons. He had a breakout season in 2005-06 after spending the 2004-05 lockout season in the AHL. With career highs in all offensive categories the year prior, Hamhuis signed a four-year, $8 million contract extension prior to the 2006-07 season, but his production dipped off that year.
After consistently good years following the contract, his rights were traded to the Philadelphia Flyers prior to free agency in 2010. He failed to sign there, and his rights were also traded to Pittsburgh where they were unsuccessful as well. It was widely believed Hamhuis wanted to return home to British Columbia, and he did, taking less than market value to do so. He has been a consistent force since joining the Canucks, getting the value they assumed they would when they signed him.
What to Expect in 2015/16
Like many of the veterans on the roster, Hamhuis could see himself in a mentorship role, working with one of the young defencemen the Canucks plan to ice this season, such as Corrado or Sbisa. He will still see top minutes and will likely finish with Alex Edler at the top of Canucks scoring for defenceman at season’s end. Age has begun to catch up to Hamhuis, especially since he has logged a few injuries in the past few seasons, but you can still expect consistent plays, even if sometimes he makes the wrong judgement call around his own net.
- Represented Team Canada at 2001 and 2002 World Juniors (Bronze, Silver)
- 2001 Member of CHL Top Prospects Game
- 2002 CHL Defenceman of the Year, First All-Star Team
- 2005 AHL Second All-Star Team
- Represented Team Canada at 2007 (Gold), 2008 (Silver), 2009 (Silver), 2013, 2015 (Gold) World Championships
- 2014 Olympic Gold Medal