Second on the docket is currently the second-oldest guy on the team (Pekka Rinne is the oldest by about six weeks). Drafted 12th overall in the 2001 NHL Draft by the Predators, Dan Hamhuis spent his first seven NHL seasons in Nashville, hung out in Vancouver for six seasons after that, then meandered through Dallas for two seasons before returning to Tennessee in 2018.
Hamhuis never turned out to be the dominating defenseman the Preds envisioned him as when they drafted him. He has, however, always proven to be a steady force on the ice. David Poile brought him back to the team in 2018 under the condition that he'd see his ice time be sharply decreased, finishing his career with more of an "elder statesman" role rather than a point-scoring one. Hamhuis skated in his 1,100th NHL game on Nov. 2 against the Rangers this season.
Even in the early days of his NHL career, Hamhuis could never really be considered a prolific scorer. His highest-scoring season came in 2005-06, during which the 23-year old scored seven goals and 31 assists for a grand total of 38 points. Hamhuis came close to his record only once more in his entire career- scoring 37 points as a 29-year old in Vancouver. Hamhuis has not surpassed 30 points since that 2011-12 season as a Canuck.
As of his injury on Mar. 3, Hamhuis, who is averaging the least Time-On-Ice (TOI) of his entire career this season, has scored zero goals and notched just eight assists. Hamhuis last scored over two years ago on Feb. 9, 2018 as a Dallas Star, making his the longest active goal drought in the NHL.
Lacking much youthful firepower at this point in his career, Hamhuis is the quintessential "defensive defenseman". Hamhuis' biggest upside offensively is that he consistently generates more Corsi-For (CF) than he goes Corsi-Against (CA)- a rate he's been able to boast for the last 11 seasons. This means that Hamhuis is able to affect- be it directly or indirectly- more shots/blocks/misses on behalf of his teammates instead of allowing the opposition to rack them up. He's obviously no Roman Josi, but Hamhuis is still a solid third-liner.
Circling back to that "defensive defenseman" remark, Hamhuis' basic function when he's on the ice is to give the first and second lines' legs a rest without creating chaos in the meantime. And he does a fairly proficient job of it, too. With a +6 on-ice rating, Hamhuis is currently having his first positive +/- season since 2013-14. Additionally, Hamhuis is on pace to allow the fewest GA at even strength while he is on the ice (oiGA) in his entire career this season, with 26 oiGA.
This season, Hamhuis has played his best when paired with Ryan Ellis. They've only skated seven and a half minutes together this year, but have facilitated two goals and allowed zero in that short time, with a CF rating of 57.14 percent and just three High-Danger Chances-For. You'd be hard-pressed to find a defensive pairing that's played as few minutes as Hamhuis and Ellis have played together and has generated as much positive impact on the ice.
As for Nashville's defense as a whole, no other Preds' D-man has over 640 games of NHL experience; Hamhuis, with over 1,100, has them all beat by a mile.
GENERAL EFFECTIVENESS & TEAM INFLUENCE
Statistically, Hamhuis is unspectacular. Which is to say, he's not the best, but he's pretty far from the worst. He performs about as well as a guy his age would be expected to perform, perhaps even a little better. As stated previously, Hamhuis' primary role with the Preds is that of a senior leader.
Hamhuis has 68 playoff games under his belt- second, again, to Rinne's 89- with three goals and 18 assists in that time. Though he's been to the Stanley Cup Final just once (dressing for only a single SCF game with Vancouver in 2011), his breadth of experience and consistent reliability after 16 seasons in the league is an invaluable asset to any team with players under 25. To be clear, that includes every single NHL team.
2019-20 SEASON GRADE: C-