Canucks a club ‘I love playing for, want to be part of’: Dan Hamhuis

 

Blue-liner hopes fans won’t blame him for team’s inability to make a trade

 
 
 
 
Dan Hamhuis says he ‘opened the door’ to both the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars last week on possible moves there, but the Vancouver Canucks were not able to conclude a deal.
 

Dan Hamhuis says he ‘opened the door’ to both the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars last week on possible moves there, but the Vancouver Canucks were not able to conclude a deal.

Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images files

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VANCOUVER — Dan Hamhuis is happy to still be a Canuck, desperately wants to remain one and hopes the team’s fans don’t blame him for the fact general manager Jim Benning was unable to trade him prior to Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

In a candid session with reporters about two hours after the noon trade deadline had passed, Hamhuis confirmed that he had given the Canucks permission last week to talk trade with both the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars.

“On Wednesday, we opened the door to Chicago and then on Thursday with Dallas to see if something could be done,” Hamhuis said. “Since those two days we were just kind of waiting to see if something would happen. It came right into this morning and ended at noon.”

Hamhuis had a full no-trade clause that he negotiated six years ago when he signed as a free agent with the Canucks. He passionately defended the right to use it.

“The no-movement clause was something we earned and paid for and negotiated into this deal six years ago,” he said. “I felt that I didn’t want to completely handcuff the Canucks and I was able to be open to a couple of teams.”

Hamhuis, a father of three, said he hopes the fans understand his reasons for wanting a say in where he plays.

“I felt like I have put my heart and soul into this organization and I want to continue to be able to do that and I hope that our fans will value that,” he said. “It is a team that I love playing for and obviously want to be a part of and I would hope that fans aren’t holding that against me.

“It is not a case where I am asking to be moved out of here, it’s the opposite, where I want to be here. I want to help our young players develop, I want this organization to get better. I didn’t open myself to 30 teams because I have family responsibilities and family considerations that factored into this as well.”

Hamhuis was surprised a deal wasn’t done. So was Benning, who later told reporters that Dallas basically decided to trade for Calgary defenceman Kris Russell instead of Hamhuis.

“They chose a Calgary player over our player,” Benning said.

The Stars paid a steep price to get Russell, sending a roster player, prospect and a second-round conditional pick that becomes a first-rounder if Dallas advances to the conference finals.

“I kind of expected that something might happen with those teams because I think they reached out, it wasn’t that I suggested those teams,” Hamhuis said. “I believe Trevor and Jim received interest from those teams and so I kind of thought that something may get done, probably more so in those first two or three days after we let them know. As time went on, maybe it felt a little more unlikely, but then again coming to today with the deadline you never know what can happen.”

Hamhuis confirmed that he told the Canucks he did not wish to go to an Eastern Conference team. Both the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins were reported to have expressed interest. He also said he would have considered going to other contending teams in the West besides Chicago and Dallas.

Now he’ll play out the season in Vancouver and hopes that the Canucks have interest in re-signing him either before or after he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Benning said the team has not ruled out re-signing Hamhuis.

Radim Vrbata, the team’s other prominent pending unrestricted free agent, also stayed put. Benning indicated there was little interest in Vrbata, who had submitted a list of eight teams he was willing to go to.

“At the end of the day we really didn’t get an offer on him,” Benning said of Vrbata.

Vrbata said he’s just happy the whole process is over.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Vrbata said. “It was just a waiting game to see if anything is going to happen or not. Nothing got done, so here we are.”

About the only thing that happened for the Canucks on Monday was the loss of centre Adam Cracknell on waivers. He was picked up by the Edmonton Oilers.

Cracknell played a career-high 44 games with the Canucks this season, registering five goals and 10 points. Cracknell, 30, was a surprise to make the team out of training camp and spent much of the season filling the fourth-line centre role. His departure should free up more ice time for rookie centre Jared McCann, who has been a healthy scratch in four of Vancouver’s last 12 games.

Cracknell, a Victoria native, said he had mixed emotions when he learned he had been claimed by the Oilers.

“This is where I always wanted to be, I had a great season here,” Cracknell said. “To go through waivers is always a tough 24 hours. But you know when you get picked up you get an opportunity to keep playing in the NHL.”

bziemer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Dan Hamhuis says he ‘opened the door’ to both the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars last week on possible moves there, but the Vancouver Canucks were not able to conclude a deal.
 

Dan Hamhuis says he ‘opened the door’ to both the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars last week on possible moves there, but the Vancouver Canucks were not able to conclude a deal.

Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images files

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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