Red Wings Prospect Spotlight: Cross Hanas

The Hockey Writers

The Detroit Red Wings have a deep prospect pool made up of scorers, grinders, playmakers, offensive and defensive defensemen, and starting-caliber goaltenders. They really don’t have a huge weakness when it comes to youth, so it’s always exciting to follow the progress of the pipeline throughout the season. So in the spirit of that, I thought it would be great to shine a spotlight on a few of them as we continue to count down the days to opening night on Oct. 12.

Detroit Red Wings Prospect Spotlight
Detroit Red Wings Prospect Spotlight (The Hockey Writers)

During this ongoing series, I will get you caught up on their 2022-23 season, what to expect during 2023-24, and their current place on the prospect depth chart. Finally, I will endeavor to project a ceiling and floor for them moving forward. Next up is a prospect that has gone under the radar but had an impressive tournament in Traverse City, former Portland Winterhawk Cross Hanas.

Spotlight on Cross Hanas

  • How Acquired: Selected 55th overall by the Red Wings in 2020
  • 2022-23 Team: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
  • 2022-23 Stats: 30 GP – 9 G – 8 A – 17 PTS
  • 2023-24 Contract Status: Signed to an entry-level contract that runs through 2024-25
  • Projected 2023-24 Team: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)

2022-23 Season Recap

Hanas made the jump to the pro ranks last season after coming off a very successful stint in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Winterhawks where he scored a career-high 26 goals and 86 points. He also starred in the playoffs to the tune of five goals and nine points in 11 games, leading his team to the second round where they were eliminated by the Seattle Thunderbirds.

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Hanas got off to a quick start in the AHL with his first two-point night coming in only his second game of the season. He also scored his first goal at the professional level in that game against the San Diego Gulls with a wicked one-timer on Lukas Dostal. That wasn’t the end of it either, as he scored six more goals before suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 25 against the Manitoba Moose. He ended up missing five weeks and returned to the lineup in January, but was unfortunately shut down for the season less than a month later when it was announced that he would have to undergo surgery.

All in all, Hanas had a solid nine goals and 22 points in 30 games, but it could have been an even more impressive pro debut had he not gotten injured. At a .73 points-per-game pace, he would have finished the season with 60 points if he played a full campaign.

2023-24 Season Outlook

If Hanas’ performance at the Traverse City Prospects tournament is any indication of future success, he’s in for a big season. Playing on a line with 2023 first-round pick Nate Danielson and 6-foot-6 tower Elmer Soderblom, he scored four goals and six points in three games. He was all over the scoresheet and was arguably their best player showcasing his hard and accurate wrist shot on multiple occasions.

Cross Hanas Grand Rapids Griffins
Cross Hanas, Grand Rapids Griffins (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Hanas probably won’t make the Red Wings out of training camp, but he should be one of the top forwards in Grand Rapids – possibly on the top line alongside Soderblom. Unfortunately, fans won’t be able to see the chemistry blossom further between Danielson and Hanas as the former will be heading back to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) once the preseason is over.

Regardless, Hanas should be given plenty of opportunities to build on his brief, but successful rookie season in 2022-23. He might even get some call-ups to the NHL if he stays healthy and continues producing.

Where is Hanas on the Red Wings’ Prospect Depth Chart?

Even though his rookie season was cut short, I still would put Hanas in the top group that contains the likes of Soderblom, Carter Mazur, Dmitri Buchelnikov, and Theodor Niederbach. He showed that he could play at the AHL level and dominate at times, which is a good sign for his future in the NHL. Coupled with his impressive performance in Traverse City, there’s no reason to doubt his status as a top prospect for the Red Wings.

Prospect Rankings

What is Hanas’ Ceiling & Floor?

Hanas has the tools to become a top-six winger in the NHL. From his creativity (he has been known to score a Michigan goal or two), wrist shot, and hockey IQ to his work ethic and physicality, he might be an option for the second line down the road. In fact, judging by the early chemistry he showed with Danielson and Soderblom, fans might have already gotten a sneak peek of a future second line. But only time will tell on that one.

If Hanas doesn’t hit his top-six potential, I could still see him on the third line making a name for himself as a hardworking tenacious forechecker capable of potting 10-15 goals. Known for his intense conditioning in the offseason and dedication to his craft, I can’t see a future where Hanas doesn’t have an NHL career in some capacity.

NHL ETA: Hanas will probably play in the AHL for a couple more seasons before becoming a full-time NHLer. Expect a few call-ups until then, with the first coming in 2023-24. I am predicting his first NHL goal will be scored this season as well.


“One thing I was impressed with Cross was last year he had a really good summer and I think it’s showing…His determination, his compete, his physicality improved. And he was able to go into the league and win some puck battles, win some 50-50s.” – Shawn Horcoff

“He’s finding that he’s making big steps early in just the first ten games…He’s playing with the puck, and away from the puck. The biggest strength is that he’s consistent at the team level. He’s competitive. He’s got the practice habits. I think all the guys have been receptive to our teaching, to the constructive criticisms, to wanting to get better every day.” – Ben Simon, former Griffins head coach

“I’m trying to be the best teammate that I can, as good of a person first…I keep trying to do what I’m doing on the ice. Keep playing confident, keep having the coaches be able to trust me in every area, and keep growing my game.” – Cross Hanas

Final Thoughts

Hanas is going to be an exciting prospect to follow this season with the Griffins. He will likely play big minutes in the top six and first-unit power play and could be in store for a career year. It looks like his shoulder is more than 100 percent judging by his shot at the Traverse City Prospects tournament, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit 20 (or even 30) goals. Basically, get used to seeing his name across your social media timelines throughout the season.

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