According to Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs are closing in on a contract with Notre Dame senior Christian Hanson, son of the legendary Dave Hanson from the cult classic “Slapshot”. This move is just the beginning of what should be a very busy offseason for Brian Burke as he attemps to replenish the Maple Leaf farm system.
Christian is a 6’3, 202 lb forward who is described by one scout as a “a strong two-way forward who takes care of the defensive zone first, is a strong playmaker and knows how to play well away from the puck.” Now even though he carries the same name as his father, their playing styles are completely different. Here’s a telling quote from his dad: “My game was built off my physical play,” Dave Hanson said. “His is built off his ability to play the game.” What’s interesting to note is that while his dad gained fame and fortune from his role as a enforcer for many years, Christian the won the award for most “Gentlemanly Player” when he played for the Lincoln Storm in the USHL.
This is more a move to add character and depth to the organization than it is to solidify and upgrade the team’s core. Hanson should provide the Marlies with some quality minutes and some promotional possibilities. The Leafs hope that with his work ethic and hockey bloodlines that he may one day crack the Leafs‘ lineup as a 4th line forward.
The most interesting thing to consider about this signing is not the actual signing itself, but rather the implications. By my count, the Leafs have now accumulated 49 professional contracts, leaving them 1 under the maximum number of 50 (unless of course they’ve signed Hanson to a try-out contract instead, with the promise of a pro contract come July 1st, which is what I would do). This means that if Leaf prospects Chad Rau and Viktor Stalberg, and prized defenseman BU Matt Gilroy were to join Denver forward Tyler Bozak in the free agent pool before the Leafs season is over (meaning their respective college teams get eliminated), then the Leafs would only have 1 professional contract left to throw at them. That would certainly shed some light onto why Burke was quoted in the Globe and Mail this morning as saying that the Leafs were still waiting to make a decision on whether or not to offer a contract to Chad Rau. The Leafs are also expected to make a contract offer to Hobey Baker finalist Viktor Stalberg, so this certainly complicates matters a great deal. What does this all mean? It means that if the Leafs want to sign Matt Gilroy, they better put on their BU sweaters and cheer for the Terriers to have a long playoff run.
Always a pleasure,