• Alex Taxman

Prospect Report: Cross Hanas

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

Cross Hanas is one of the most hard-working players in the 2020 crop. The dynamic Portland Winterhawks winger brings skill, grit, and a load of other tools to the table. He currently stands 6’1, and weighs 165 pounds, giving him a solid frame to build on. Most of the attention goes to his teammate Seth Jarvis, but in my opinion, Hanas is quite the player. When scouting players for the NHL, the most important things to look for are translatable skills. Cross Hanas is the definition of translatable skills. As Hanas’s former teammate Alex Overhardt pointed out, “Cross was a big lanky kid at an early age but you could already tell he had a ton of talent. He’s a great skater who plays hard and plays the game the right way”.

Hanas got off to an incredible start, scoring the first 2 goals of the Winterhawks season, with one of them being this gorgeous lacrosse goal:

A lot of people expected Hanas to be a big scorer after that performance, but he didn’t produce much in the first quarter of the season. He always passed the eye test, and was a lock for a couple solid shots on net each night, but he wasn’t playing big minutes. Hanas has gotten time on the power play all year, but he bounced around the bottom six at 5v5 for the majority of the first half of the season. I never understood why he didn’t play more, but recently he’s been getting the minutes he deserves. In his last 13 games, Hanas has 17 points. In total, he’s got 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points through 40 games.

Hanas plays a hard 200 foot game with seemingly limitless energy. His feet are very quick and agile, and he loves to show them off. He will often use a few quick little leg kicks to throw off the defense or goaltender. Hanas’s edge work is solid, he’s evasive in the corners and in front of the net. His overall skating ability is good, his stride is fast but a bit choppy. He skates with a hop in his step, and has breakaway speed when he needs it, but I wouldn’t call him a burner. He isn’t one of those guys who just glides around effortlessly, he needs to work to maintain his speed due to his stride inefficiency. If there was one thing I could point out for Hanas to work on, it would be maintaining his stride. I’m not worried about his skating though when he can do things like this:

He doesn’t come in with much speed at all, and is somewhat coasting over the line. When he gets the puck, he turns on the jets and gains some serious speed in about 4 strides. That kind of acceleration is necessary for a winger in the NHL, and it’s a big part of Hanas’s game. He uses it to create space for himself in the offensive zone, but you won’t usually see him flying through the neutral zone.

Hanas’s best tool is his IQ. He sees the ice very well, and his hands are super decisive. When controlling the puck, he’s always using a quick forehand-backhand to keep defensemen on their feet. It adds a solid element of deception to his game, because while defensemen think he’s still surveying his options, he makes his pass. When players stop stick handling, it’s a clear pass indicator. Hanas is already able to play this little chess game, which bodes well for him at the next level. Here’s one of my favorite examples of this:

The defenseman gets lucky with a desperate swing of his stick, but if that pass goes through, it’s a goal. Here’s a better example of how effective it can be:

Everyone thinks he’s going to go stickhandle around the net, but a quick one touch pass back to the point surprises them all and opens up a clear shooting lane for his defenseman. He can be pretty crafty too, this is by far my favorite assist of his from this season:

He goes hard to the front of the net, and takes the defender away from the slot. He executed his job perfectly, and definitely shouldn’t be expecting the puck. However, it comes right to him and he kicks it directly to his teammate’s tape, in the area that he had just cleared. I love this play, it couldn’t be any more perfect. He loves to hang around the front of the net when his team has control, causing havoc and fighting for rebounds. Hanas’s willingness to go to the hard areas is a big positive of his game, and it’s even better that he succeeds in them.

Earlier, when I said his hands are decisive, I meant it. He consistently makes these sick 4-5 touch dekes that have a definitive start and end point. What I mean by this is that when he starts his move, he’s already read the play and knows how he’s going to finish it. A lot of players just start throwing out their whole deke arsenal hoping that something works. Just watch this play by Hanas:

That’s a true chess move right there. He’s also a solid finisher in tight, and always sticks with his own rebounds. Being so strong on his edges helps him finish so well while under pressure. He’s probably most dangerous around the net, and I pulled a few examples of this:

A little hop behind the defense opens him up for a close one on one with the goaltender, and he’s able to finish with a quick move to his backhand.

When left open, Hanas is a serious shooting threat. He has a pretty quick release, but it’s his accuracy that makes him more dangerous. His wrist shot is his best weapon, and he’s able to pick corners on a pretty consistent basis. Here’s a few examples of his shot:

Cross Hanas shouldn’t be slept on, and I imagine he’ll start climbing rankings soon. He plays a pro style game, and already has a bucket of tools to help him succeed at the next level. Hanas is currently my #38 ranked skater for the 2020 NHL draft.


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