(Philadelphia, PA) - The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired the rights to one of the most sought after free agents-to-be on defense in Nashville Predators blueliner Dan Hamhuis.
On Saturday afternoon, the club announced it had traded defenseman Ryan Parent to Nashville for Hamhuis and a conditional pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Hamhuis is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so the Flyers will try to sign him to a deal as soon as possible.
“Our intention is to get him signed prior to [July 1], and that is what our aim is at this point in time,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. “The sooner that we get going on trying to get this done, the better.”
"Obviously, it is sad to leave the Predators," said Hamhuis. "I spent some great years with them and it is great organization to be a part of. I've heard nothing but great things about the city of Philadelphia and the Flyers."
|Nashville Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis (2) takes down Columbus Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger (18) in the second period of an NHL hockey game on Saturday, March 20, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mike Strasinger) |
Should he agree to terms with the defending Eastern Conference champions, the 6-1, 209-pound Hamhuis will provide an instant upgrade to a defense that already features one of the best Top-4 groups in the league in Chris Pronger
, Kimmo Timonen
, Braydon Coburn
and Matt Carle
. At 27 years old, Hamhuis may be entering the prime of his career.
"I think Philly has an unbelievable defense corps,” said Hamhuis. “To join a corps like that makes the Flyers one of the tougher ones in the league. To play against the teams from the East, the conference has a lot of great forwards. Watching the playoffs, having a great defense will get you a long way.”
Known as a physical player who isn’t afraid to throw an open-ice hit, Hamhuis has never missed more than four games in a season in his six-year NHL career. He also has the ability to contribute offensively, with 161 points (32g, 129a) in 483 career games, all with Nashville.
Only Ilya Kovalchuk has played in more NHL games among players drafted in 2001.
"Dan Hamhuis is a good all-around defenseman,” said Holmgren. “He's a guy who can play lots of minutes and he can play in a lot of different situations, from power play to killing penalties. He is another athlete we'd like to add to our team to continue to improve our defense."
Parent, 23, was originally acquired by the Flyers from Nashville along with Scottie Upshall and a first and a third round draft choice in the 2007 draft in exchange for Peter Forsberg on February 15, 2007. In 102 games over four injury-marred seasons, Parent totaled one goal and six assists for seven points and 36 penalty minutes.
He's a guy who can play lots of minutes and he can play in a lot of different situations, from power play to killing penalties." - Paul Holmgren on Dan Hamhuis
Holmgren had nothing but good things to say about Parent, who, at just 23 years old, still has time to develop into an effective, everyday NHL player. The deal makes sense for both clubs, as Nashville appeared unlikely to sign Hamhuis after reportedly trying to get a deal done since before the trade deadline.
“I think Ryan is a good kid. He is an extremely hard worker. We certainly thank him for his services and his time here,” said Holmgren. “He has a lot of upside as a player and he is going back to an organization that obviously knows him because they drafted him."
Hamhuis, the 12th overall pick in the 2001 draft by Nashville, hails from the small town of Smithers, British Columbia – also the hometown of former Flyers defensemen Jim and Joe Watson.