Many of you have asked about Dan Hamhuis as an unrestricted free agent, and he seems to be the holy grail of the UFA class this summer when it comes to defensemen.
That generally means you will have to overpay to get him.
The good news is that he will likely not require the five-year, $33.4 million deal ($6.685 million a year) that Jay Bouwmeester signed with Calgary last year. The bad news is he is not as big (listed at 6-1, 205 to Bouwmeester's 6-4, 213) or physical and doesn't have the same offensive numbers (mostly 20s to Bouwmeester's 40s).
Dan Hamhuis is a really good defenseman, but he has not been an offensive force at the NHL level. He had five goals among 24 points in 78 games this season for Nashville. Stephane Robidas had 10 goals among 41 points for the Stars. Hamhuis' numbers over the past four seasons are (going backward): 24 points, 26 points, 27 points, 20 points.
He had a solid offensive season in 2005-06 (7 goals, 31 assists for 38 points in 82 games with the Preds) and had a great year with Milwaukee of the AHL in 2004-05 (13 goals, 38 assists for 51 points in 76 games), but he has been pushed back by the skilled defensemen in Nashville. So could a team that signs him get the offense back that resulted in him being named the Canadian Major Junior Defenseman of the Year in 2002 and caused him to be drafted 12th overall in 2001?
That would be the main question of whether Hamhuis is worth a big offer. He is a very smooth skater and he definitely has some skills. So is he sitting behind Shea Weber and Ryan Suter and not getting a chance in Nashville? Could he break out if given top power play time?
Weber sets the bar for defensemen in Nashville right now at $4.5 million, so there's a good chance Hamhuis won't get an offer better than that from the Preds. He made $2.5 million last season. If the Predators can't get a deal done with him, might they trade his rights before July 1? It would certainly make sense if he showed any inclination to sign a deal before free agency the way Bouwmeester did with Calgary.
So what kind of offer could Hamhuis get, and would it be worth the risk to see if the Stars can tap into offensive potential that has not yet surfaced in the NHL?
Or is Hamhuis just a more expensive version of Trevor Daley, and the Stars would do well to give Daley the opportunity to play No. 1 power play time?
I definitely think whoever gets him will be paying a premium price and taking a little bit of a chance.