On Wednesday, the Detroit Red Wings announced that 20 year old forward Cross Hanas had been signed to an entry-level contract.
So what do the Red Wings have in this young prospect?
Stats and play-type
Playing both as a center and winger, Hanas has racked up the points in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks. In just 53 games, he has scored 22 goals and 49 assists. He’s projected to finish with 84 total points at the end of the season.
Just looking at his points, it’s clear that Hanas is a playmaking forward. He has high-end puck handling skills, and combined with a high hockey IQ, he’s lethal whenever he’s in the offensive zone. However, don’t count out his sneaky-good shot – like all great playmaking forwards, he’s not afraid to put pucks on net himself. While he isn’t the best skater, Hanas makes up for it in his other abilities.
Hanas’ future with Detroit
It’s obvious that Steve Yzerman and the rest of the organization see something in Hanas, and for good reason.
However, the next real test is to see how Hanas adjusts to a better league. Racking up a boat load of points in junior is impressive, but it isn’t proof that he can play at the NHL level. Hanas will almost certainly head to Grand Rapids before he heads to Detroit, likely for an entire season. The Red Wings like to slowly adjust their prospects to high-end hockey – even Jonatan Berggren, who was highly productive in the Swedish Hockey League, has spent all season with the Griffins.
As it stands, it’s still very hard to say exactly what Hanas’ future with the team will be. Some of his skills are good enough to translate to the top-six of an NHL team, but he’s limited by his speed and occasional inconsistency. Again, it comes down to how he performs at a higher level of hockey. If Hanas remains productive in the AHL, it’s time to start getting excited about this prospect.
For now, don’t set expectations too high on Hanas – but keep on eye on the young forward, because he has plenty of potential.