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March 31, 2009

Son Of Slap Shot

This is Christian Hanson. TSN is reporting the unrestricted free agent will sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs today.

Hanson is a strapping 6'4" 225lb center who is graduating from the NCAA's Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He had 16 goals and 31 points in 37 games this season.

Hanson will be most notably in the headlines today because of his lineage. He is the son of Dave Hanson, a former minor pro ruffian with stints in the NHL and WHA. He is more famous for his role in the movie Slap Shot, where he acted as Jack of the cult hero Hanson Brothers.

Which begs the question: What does son Christian think of the famous movie?

"I probably didn't see it until I was about 13 years old, and I'm just sitting there watching and I'm actually befuddled," he once told ESPN. "My dad is up there hacking and whacking and beating guys up, and swearing. I never saw any of this at home."

Christian Hanson is one of several highly sought after NCAA graduates you will hear about in the coming days and weeks. Tyler Bozak from the University of Denver and Matt Gilroy from Boston University are likely fielding offers from most NHL teams.

Why the interest in players that were previously repeatedly passed over by every NHL team at the NHL draft?

In the salary cap world, stockpiling prospects is essential and finding inexpensive talent to fill roster spots is key. Most teams in the league are interested in investing in these older and more mature prospects who may be able to step in and play.

This is hardly new, and in fact is done every year. Perhaps we are hearing more about it this year because Brian Burke is being so aggressive in his pursuit of these players.

You may remember back in 1985 when Detroit, then a cellar dwellar, was aggressive in this same marketplace. They struck-out quite spectacularly when they succeeded in signing Tim Friday, Chris Cichocki, and the most coveted NCAA free agent of the day, Ray Staszak, who just so happened to be represented by player agent Brian Burke.

The Wings may have found three strikes in Friday, Cichocki and Staszak. But they did find a pretty good NCAA free agent that summer - Adam Oates.

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