Dan Hamhuis has been an excellent defenceman for the Vancouver Canucks for the last six seasons and an even better ambassador for the team. Let’s be honest, it is near impossible not to like him.
It is also time for the Canucks to let him move on to another team.
The 33-year-old rearguard from Smithers, BC may want to re-sign with and retire a Vancouver Canuck. He may even be willing to give the Canucks a significant hometown discount. Despite this, Jim Benning shouldn’t even offer him a contract.
This idea of letting Hamhuis move on has less to do with ability, and more to do with what is best for both parties.
Back in 2010, Hamhuis signing with the Canucks was considered a major coup for the Mike Gillis regime. They landed a highly touted free agent who wanted to play for Vancouver so badly that he took less money on a long-term contract. The 6-year, $27 million contract was a glorious one for the Canucks and there is little doubt that Hamhuis earned every penny, and more.
It is up for debate, but many believe Dan Hamhuis’ injury in Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final was one of the most crushing blows to a Canucks team that seemed destined to win their first ever Stanley Cup.
For Hamhuis, now is the time to cash in. This year’s UFA crop of defensemen is a lacklustre one and Hamhuis will be able to command $5-$6 million annually for a 2 or 3-year term on the open market. Not only will the contract offers be eye-popping, but Hamhuis will likely find himself courted by teams that are legitimate contenders for the Stanley Cup.
The Canucks are a landing spot that will provide Hamhuis the least lucrative deal and little (ok, seemingly zero) hope in the Stanley Cup aspirations department.
Benning has gone on record that Hamhuis has value as a mentor for younger defencemen such as Nikita Tryamkin and Ben Hutton, but it appears that the Canucks real need is for a right-shot, power play quarterback-type defenceman. The Canucks would be better off to let Alex Edler and Chris Tanev take on the task of leading the young Canucks defensive core, one that is abundant in left-shot defencemen, and focus on trading for a top-4 right shot defenceman (easier said than done).
The Canucks may not be able to get that right shot defenceman they covet this year, but there is little point in keeping an aging left shot defenceman on a team in rebuild mode.
Right now it appears both Hamhuis and the Canucks are each other’s security blankets. This needs to end now.
As harsh as it sounds, Benning needs to do what is best and simply not offer Hamhuis a contract. The Canucks will be better off without him in the long run and Hamhuis will soon find out he is better off without the Canucks.