From Beauchemin to Stalberg, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2009-10 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Maple Leafs for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2010-11. That means only guys that are still property of the Maple Leafs. We're doing this in concert with Maple Leafs Hot Stove. Next up, Christian Hanson.
#20 / Center / Toronto Maple Leafs
Mar 10, 1986
Years in the NHL: 1
Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent. (Previous salary of $900k)
|2009 - Christian Hanson||31||2||5||7||-2||16||0||1||0||0||45||4.4|
Coming off of a stellar senior year at the University of Notre Dame, Hanson was one of three highly touted college free agents in the spring of 2009. The others being Matt Gilroy and Tyler Bozak. Due to Notre Dame's early departure from the NCAA tournament, Hanson was the first of those three players to sign with a pro club. Discussion was that the big 6' 3" Hanson had 2nd line potential and barring that would be a great 3rd line/checking line center.
Perhaps adding to the hype surrounding him, was that he was the son of Dave Hanson, #16 of the Hanson Brothers of Slap Shot fame. And seeing as how the word of the time was Truculence, Hanson's lineage seemed like the perfect fit. However, even with of small sample of only 36 NHL games played, it seems that perhaps the hype was too great and that his potential may have been misjudged. And now, one of the biggest free agent signing of 2009 may not even be resigned only a year later for reasons that I'll discuss after the jump.
Please read the entire article before you cast your vote.
Hanson starting off the '09-'10 season playing in the AHL for the Toronto Marlies due to the log jam of veteran players ahead of him such as Jamal Mayers, Wayne Primeau, and Richard Wallin. There he put up great numbers for a rookie, 31 points in 38 games, and it seemed like it would be only a matter of time before he would make the jump to the big league.
Outside of the NHL, Hanson was almost named to the 2010 USA World Championship team.
After the everybody for Phaneuf, Sjostrom, and the Wookie on Skates trade, Hanson was brought up to the Leafs to play on the 3rd and 4th lines. Surely, this would be his time to shine. Sadly, that's not what happened. In fact, not much of anything happened. In the 31 games he played, Hanson scored only 7 points; 3 of those coming in the last game of the season. He was used sparingly on special teams; only a minute per game on both the PP and PK, and towards the end of the season find himself shifted to the wing while John Mitchell or Rickard Wallin played in the middle.
Now you would think that perhaps there would be no ugly for a player who did little, good or bad, in their rookie season. In fact, all of Hanson's ugly is due to off-ice circumstances. Hanson was originally signed to a two-year deal by Burke in late 2009. But because he played in 5 games for the Leafs at the end of the season, a year of his contract was used up; thus making Hanson a Restricted Free Agent come July 1st, 2010. Here's where it gets a bit technical; due to his age, Hanson will lose his waiver exempt status once he's played in a total of 60 NHL; only 24 more.
Hanson started last season down on the Marlies, and really has yet to show that he's able to make a positive contribution at the NHL level. Should Burke resign him; Hanson would lose his ability to be moved up and down between the AHL and NHL only a quarter-way through the season. This could then result in Hanson "being trapped" on either the Marlies or the Leafs should it become apparent that he is on the wrong team.
Hanson's second goal of the game, and season, against the Habs.
Should Burke resign Christian Hanson? Is the risk of him losing his waiver exempt status and the subsequent inability to send him down to the Marlies too much? If Hanson is resigned, what should the terms of the offer be? Where do you see Hanson fitting in to the overall scheme of things to come for the Leafs?
Rate Hanson 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.