The Sharks have re-signed veteran defenseman Scott Hannan to a one-year, $1 million contract. A former first-round draft pick of the team, the 35-year-old Hannan was re-acquired by general manager Doug Wilson from the Nashville Predators at the 2013 trade deadline and has suited up for 60 regular season games and 18 additional playoff contests since. He scored 3 goals and 12 assists in 56 games this past season while averaging 17:46 a night.
I'm not the biggest fan of Hannan (or players of his ilk in general) but I think he's a fine No. 6 or 7 defenseman who showed signs of remaining a capable puck-stopper when paired with a more mobile blueliner like Jason Demers last season. During the 389 5-on-5 minutes Hannan and Demers were on the ice together for, most of which came behind the Sharks' bottom-six forwards, San Jose controlled 54.2% of puck possession. That's an excellent percentage by third pairing standards and, given that Hannan was also a solid penalty killer in 2013-14, I see the logic in bringing him back at minimal risk. He isn't as bad as Brad Stuart and he certainly won't get a sniff of the top-four minutes Stuart was handed. Hannan is also the kind of player I could easily see the Sharks flipping for a 5th or 6th round draft pick at the trade deadline.
Where this signing gets a bit confusing is when placed in the broader of context of this offseason, one in which Doug Wilson has professed a desire to rebuild and allow the organization's prospects to grab as large a role on the team as possible. Barring any further trades, re-signing Hannan closes an opening that could have been filled by any of Mirco Mueller, Konrad Abeltshauser, Matt Tennyson, Taylor Doherty or Dylan DeMelo. Now there's only one spot left for those five prospects to fight over, unless the Sharks plan to carry eight defensemen and make both Hannan and Matt Irwin healthy scratches on a nightly basis (which is possible, though unlikely). This isn't as bad as John Scott and Mike Brown, objectively terrible players, blocking the likes of Freddie Hamilton and Chris Tierney up front; Hannan can still be a useful bottom-pair defenseman in the right situation. It just appears to run somewhat counter to the supposed master plan.