George McPhee acknowledged that the Capitals have been looking for a veteran, stay-at-home type defenseman for "three or four years" and the initial reaction is that Scott Hannan fits Washington's need for more experience in its own end precisely.
Hannan might not be a bone-crushing presense, but he's solid and responsible in his own end and adds more experience to a Capitals defense that includes four players 25 years old or younger. He might not be the fastest skater (as the Denver Post's Adrian Dater noted earlier today), but the Capitals won't look for him to lead the rush, either.
He won't cost Washington opportunities by taking many penalties, either. Through 23 games this season Hannan has just six penalty minutes, and in 81 contests during the 2009-10 campaign with the Avalanche he only tallied 40.
He'll likely be part of the Captials' penalty kill -- Hannan led Colorado with an average of 3:21 minutes of ice time while shorthanded -- and expect to see him blocking shots frequently. Hannan blocked at least 144 shots in each of the past three seasons and he has a reputation for being durable and willing to play through a lot of pain.
While it will undoubtedly take time to see how he meshes with the rest of the Capitals, on the surface Hannan appears to be exactly the type of player Washington was looking for. And knowing that his best attributes are what the Capitals need makes it an easier transition for Hannan.
"My style of game hasn't changed too much from what it's been in San Jose or what it's been in Colorado," Hannan said. "I've been counted on to be a defensive player and to kill penalties and to play against other teams' top lines.... Washington, I'm excited about playing there, obviously, with a bunch of great talented players and I expect to fit in. I expect to be put in a defensive role there -- I don't think they'll change that up too much."
"You like being on a team where you know you can fit in right away with something the team wants," Hannan said of his skill set. "I've played that [defensive] role on many other teams, I look forward and relish the fact that I get a chance to do that on a team like Washington."
As for Hannan's reputation of being durable -- he missed just two games in his three years and change with the Avalanche -- McPhee said it was a fair assessment.
"Particularly for the amount of shots he blocks and the way he plays," McPhee said when asked whether he thought Hannan was durable. "He does a good job in front of the net, he's a physically strong guy, he doesn't run over people a lot -- he will when he has to. It's just about getting position in front of the net and not letting anybody get to the net for tips and rebounds and that sort of thing, and keeping the shots to the outside."
Hannan said during a conference call with media members that the first he heard of the trade was on Monday when Colorado approached him about waiving his no-trade clause. He also said he spoke briefly with Matt Hendricks, who played with the Avalanche last year, and already received a message from Alex Ovechkin.