When the Detroit Red Wings came to call with an entry-level contract, Portland Winterhawks striker Cross Hanas described it as a “weight off his shoulders.”
“I felt a lot lighter,” Hanas said. “It was like ‘oh my god, this is happening’. It’s the kind of thing you dream about all your life.”
If Hanas’ burning game continues, the Red Wings organization can only dream of the possibilities of their election in the second round of 2020.
An increasing talent in the Red Wings organization
Through 61 games this season, Hanas has 85 points along with some highlights that have garnered attention. Whether it’s been overtime winners, a hat-trick against Spokane back in February or some smart passes, Cross Hanas has been an opportunity to see for Red Wings fans.
📽️ WHL Highlights – April 1, 2022
🏒(5) kl (4) – OT
Cross Hanas plays overtime hero to end a furious Portland rally.
STATISTICS 📰 | https://t.co/dRzXm3nppd
– The WHL (@TheWHL)
Hanas is in third place in the WHL with 59 assistants, while also scoring 26 goals. He names Jonathan Huberdeau as an inspiration for his game, and praises the Panthers forward’s IQ as one to be emulated.
“I like the playmakers,” Hanas said. “They see the ice so well and they make so many games. Huberdeau has 77 assists and that’s my favorite state line. I like the little plays he makes – the super smart plays to see the ice so well. It is probably my favorite thing to see. ”
While imitating playmakers like Huberdeau, his chemistry with teammate and friend James Stefan is evident. Starting together in Lincoln from the USHL, their connection was continued when Stefan joined the Winterhawks last season.
“We’ve been playing together for a couple of years now,” Hanas said. “He’s a great goal scorer. He just has to get him the puck and he’s finding the back of the net. Since I’m more of a playmaker, it’s pretty easy when you have a goal scorer that you play with every night.”
Stefan has moved up in the draft rankings, ranked # 205 among North American skaters by Central Scouting. With 75 points (33-42) in 65 games and with the playoffs on the way, there is still time to move up.
Can he be interested in Detroit?
“Man, we’ve talked about it before and I would love it if it happened,” Hanas said. ‘He deserves to be picked pretty high in the draft. He has been incredible the last few years. ”
Stefan and Hanas went viral after mimicking a pass-score sequence performed by Trevor Zegras earlier this year. While the chemistry is obvious, the chance to get a crack at being teammates in Detroit is a thought that has roamed their heads.
“If Detroit took him, it would be insane,” Hanas laughed. “I would be really excited.”
Cross Hanas with scoop and throw, James Stefan with finish.
“Zegras” is the new Michigan!
– / Cam Robinson / (@Hockey_Robinson)
Focused on the job ahead as Portland approaches the playoffs
The Winterhawks are currently in third place in the Western Conference, but Hanas is not looking too far ahead.
“We are still fighting here to secure a place and nothing is guaranteed,” Hanas said. “We’re still finishing the regular season and we’re not looking too far into anything. We’re taking it day by day and week by week.”
Hanas attributes much of his thinking and growth to Portland’s coaching staff.
“You could not ask for more,” Hanas said. “(General manager and head coach) Mike (Johnston) has helped me with a lot of little things in my game – the habits and things I need to do to become a professional.”
As the Red Wings believe in a strong 200-foot play from their attackers, Hanas attributes that head coach Don Hay also helps him become a more complete player.
“Don has really helped me with the defensive side of my game,” Hanas said. “Becoming a better penalty killer and being good five-on-five in my own zone.”
If Cross Hanas actually comes to Detroit, he names both coaches as critical in his development at the junior level.
“They’ve been working with me for four years now,” Hanas said. “I’ve been really grateful to have them as coaches.”
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