FanPost

Christian Hanson. Yeah he's still with the Leafs

A lot of people seem to have forgotten about Christian Hanson so here is a post to just remind everyone who he is and what he has brought to this organization.

 

First off many (accurately) point he was an undrafted free agent.  His draft year would have been either 2003/2004 or 2004/2005.  Neither year did he do much do earn him recognition by any teams.  He was playing the USHL and had 11 G and 19 Pts in 58 GP the first year and 19 G and 52 Pts in 60 GP the second.

He then went to college and had 2 poor years and a mediocre, but nothing special junior year with 13 G and 22 Pts in 47 GP.  He earned himself attention as an NCAA UFA in his senior year of college hockey by scoring 16 G and 31 Pts in 37 GP.  Of course the fact that 6'4" (6'3" by some reports) and 230 lbs obviously helped.  In addition he was known for his two-way play and was capable of playing any of the forward positions.  So this is how he entered our organization.  A big-bodied, late developing, two-way forward.

He joined the team in time to play 5 games on the Maple Leafs and score 1 G and 2 Pts to give us a little taste.

In the preseason of 09/10 he played on the "frat pack" line along with college graduates Tyler Bozak and Viktor Stalberg.  Many considered it an electrifying line but in the end only Stalberg got the call up to start the year.  Hanson thus went down to the AHL.

In his first 18 games in the AHL he scored 8 goals and 18 points earning himself a short call up for injuries on the main team.  Playing less than 11 minutes a night on the wing he didn't do much putting up just one assist.  Leading him to be be sent back down.

Throughout the rest of the season in the AHL he scored a total of 12 G and 31 Pts in 38 GP.  If this were prorated to a full year he would have a 26 G 67 Pt season.  Pretty damn good for a rookie (although to be fair he was a 23 year old rookie).  Good enough in fact to get an invite to the AHL all star team, where he scored 1 assist.  While he had a good year in the AHL, his year in the NHL left the organization wanting.  He had 2 G and 7 Pts in 31 GP both goals and one assist coming on the last game of the season.  This prorates to 5 G and 19 points.  This is not very good but is pretty typical fourth line production (and not bad fourth line production for a rookie).  However if you want to be a fourth liner in the NHL you need to provide something besides passable NHL play.  Be it big hits, fights, or strong defensive play.  So the question is could he provide any of this? (*Small side note:  His game last year was considered good enough to earn him an invite to the US World Championship team where he put up 1 assist in 6 GP)

Coming into this season the Leafs apparently had a similar thought and have since decided to develop him into a checking line center.  During both the preseason and the 3 NHL games he has played this year, he has been on the 3rd or 4th line (he produced 0 points in the regular season games).  Interestingly, I have been told that he has been played on a checking line in the AHL this year (I have not watched it myself and cannot seem to find AHL TOI or QoC stats to back this up) which suggests the organization has decided to develop him as a checking line forward.  In the AHL this year he has provided slightly less of an offensive game this year scoring 12 G and 29 points in 44 games (*note if he has been played in a more defensive role this may explain the decrease in scoring). 

This brings us to today.  He has now played 82 AHL games ( a full season's worth) and he has scored 24 G and 60 points as a 23-24 year old rookie.  Pretty solid offensive numbers.  For interests sake Alexander Burrows put up 21 G and 56 points through his first 107 AHL games at ages 22-24.

So the question is will Hanson provide anything for the Leafs in the future?  The organization has decided to develop him as a checking forward which means that his ceiling would likely be a good 3rd line center (think Manny Malholtra).  I would argue that even if he can't quite become a good 3rd liner, he is already good enough to be fourth liner on this team and that he is likely to become a bottom 6, defensive forward capable of 10 G and 30 points.

His NHL numbers thus far are 3 G and 9 pts in 39 GP, which prorates to 6 G and 19 points.  As well he has actually been very good in the dot.  He only has taken 13 faceoffs this year (winning 7 for a 53.8% which would rank him fourth) and as this is a very small sample size I will not use it to analyze his ability in the dot.  Instead lets look at 09/10.  Last year Hanson ranked second on the team in faceoff percentage for players who had taken at least 100 faceoffs.  He took 177 and won 55.4%.

So what do we have in Hanson today?  A 6'4", 230 lb skater playing at a 6 G, 19 point pace, who can play any of the forward position and has put up a 55.4% in the dot.  Add to that, the fact that he is only 24 and has played only 111 professional games (only 39 in the NHL), has shown good offense in the AHL (enough to be invited to the AHL all star game), and is still developing.  I like the chances that we will have a solid checking line forward who can put up modest points in the future.

Cheers

Appendix.  Current Leaf's 4th liners Career averages:

Player

Games Played

Average Goals per 82 Games Played

Average Points per 82 Games Played

John Mitchell

159

10

28

Joey Crabb

53

6

26

Christian Hanson

39

6

19

Fredrick Sjostrom

470

8

18

Tim Brent

74

9

13

Jay Rosehill

28

6

12

Mike Brown

169

5

8

Colton Orr

373

2

4

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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