Replacing Regehr? Flames ink Hannan

Scott Hannan - JOCELYN MALETTE / JOURNAL DE MONTRÉAL / QMI AGENCY

Scott Hannan - JOCELYN MALETTE / JOURNAL DE MONTRÉAL / QMI AGENCY

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:58 AM ET

Adding Scott Hannan to the Calgary Flames has the team at seven defenceman with one-way contracts.

So much for the opportunity for a young blueliner from the system to make the jump.

Not so fast, implored Flames GM Jay Feaster.

“We have a lot of (one-way contracts), but we will do what we have to to ensure the right players on the roster based on who earns it at the end of the day,” Feaster said Saturday after the team announced Hannan’s one-year, US$1 million pact. “I think we were fortunate last year on the blueline, in terms of injuries, and

I touch wood as I say that.

“We have to be prepared for anything. We have young guys we think can step up and make the team and have some depth guys who can play, but we wanted a veteran presence.”

Hannan certainly has his mileage with 830 NHL regular-season games under his belt, in which he’s collected 31 goals, 185 points, 484 penalty minutes and a plus-25 rating.

Here’s a kicker. The defensive blueliner is only 32 years old, coming off a season split between the Colorado Avalanche and the Washington Capitals. It just seems like he’s been around the NHL forever, having broken into the league on a full-time basis in the 2000-01 season.

Maybe the fact Hannan was still without a contract in mid-August gives the perception other teams believed he was done.

“It was a different scenario than what I’ve had in the past, but we had confidence,” Hannan said from his off-season home in Kelowna. “We’re happy the way things worked out. It’s a great opportunity.

“I know the team pretty well. I’ve played against them for a while,” Hannan continued. “I played with Jay (Bouwmeester) on (Team Canada’s) World Cup team (in 2004) and played plenty against Mark Giordano and know guys like Cory Sarich and Anton Babchuk and what they can do.”

Those four defencemen, plus Chris Butler and Brett Carson, all have one-way pacts, so it looked as if an opening would be there at training camp for the likes of younger blueliners Brendan Mikkelson, T.J. Brodie or even oft-injured John Negrin or Chris Breen.

Hannan, however, does provide an element those young players don’t have right now — proven reliability.

He won’t wow anybody with offence but is physical, is a shutdown defenceman, is capable of playing 18 to 20 minutes per night and is a top-flight penalty killer. Having traded away Robyn Regehr at the NHL Entry Draft, the Flames are in need of those attributes.

“After talking with Brent (Sutter, the Flames head coach) and Jay and hearing about the way they’re focused on where the team is headed and the way they played the last half of last season, I’m excited,” Hannan said. “I’m excited to come in and help any way I can. I know I can come in and play well, and we’ll see where it takes us.

“I didn’t get the chance to play them in the second half because I was in Washington. But you keep you eye on how teams are doing, and they were great. That was definitely something you factor in.”

Feaster now has 48 players under contracts which count against the reserve list, which is two short of the maximum, so it’s unlikely the Flames will add anybody else before training camp opens next month.

“If something comes up, and we say, ‘That’s too good to pass up,’ we’ll do it,” Feaster added. “But we’re not actively out there looking.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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