The Bruins finally waded into the free agent waters on Monday, adding a depth player who could compete for a bottom-six role in Boston. That player also happens to come with quite a hockey pedigree, as center Christian Hanson is the son of Dave Hanson of "Slap Shot" fame.
Dave Hanson wasn't just a Hollywood creation. He put on the foil for real, reaching the NHL for 33 games with the Red Wings and North Stars and also spending parts of three seasons in the WHA.
Christian Hanson has made it to the NHL as well, playing 42 games with Toronto in the 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, posting 3-6-9 totals with 22 penalty minutes. He spent all of last year with Washington's AHL affiliate in Hershey after signing with the Capitals. He had 10-11-21 totals and 42 penalty minutes in 52 games with the Bears.
Hanson, 26, is likely ticketed for Boston's AHL affiliate in Providence after a signing a one-year, two-way contract on Monday. He'll make $600,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 in the AHL.
Hanson will have a shot at seeing some time in Boston. He brings some size to the middle at 6-foot-4, 228 pounds and is much more of a skill player than the image his father projected on the silver screen. Hanson played in the 2010 AHL All-Star Game and the Venetia, Penn. native represented the U.S. in the 2010 World Championships.
Hanson put up his best pro totals in 2010-11 with a 13-21-34 line in 58 games with the AHL's Toronto Marlies. That followed his first full pro season in Toronto in 2009-10 when he played 31 games with the Maple Leafs.
The Leafs signed Hanson after the conclusion of his college career at Notre Dame, where he had 36-28-64 totals in 140 games and helped the Irish reach the Frozen Four for the first time in program history in 2008.
While the Bruins are largely set up front with 12 forwards back from last year, Hanson will join former Hershey teammate Chris Bourque, prospects Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner and Providence holdovers Lane MacDermid and Carter Camper in pushing for a roster spot in Boston. Jordan Caron will be looking to hold off those challengers for the final spot on the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, while there is also an opening for at least one spare forward with the big club.
In addition to providing potential depth for Boston, Hanson could also help upgrade the Providence forward corps as the Bruins' top affiliate looks to return to the postseason after failing to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Photo via Facebook/Christian Hanson