Joel Hanley


Keswick Ontario

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Signed as free agent, 2015.


180 lbs.

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2006-07: Joel Hanley skated for the York Simcoe Express midget minor team and was selected by the London Knights in the ninth round (180th overall) in the 2007 OHL Priority Draft.

2007-08: Hanley appeared in two junior A games with the Newmarket Hurricanes as a 16-year-old and played for the York Simcoe Express midget team in Ontario. He had no points nor penalties in two games with the Hurricanes.

2008-09: Hanley was named the rookie of the year in the Central Division of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in his first season with Newmarket. He scored 14 goals with 24 assists and 61 penalty minutes in 50 games for the Hurricanes. Newmarket missed the playoffs, finishing fifth in the Central Division.

2009-10: Hanley was limited to 23 regular season games in his second season with Newmarket but played a key role for the Hurricanes in the playoffs. He scored 5 goals with 15 assists and was +2 with 11 penalty minutes in the regular season as Newmarket finished second in the West Division of the re-christened Central Canada Hockey League. The Hurricanes reached the OHA Championship series, falling to Oakville. Hanley scored 4 goals with 9 assists and 12 penalty minutes in 19 playoff games. He signed a national letter of intent to play college hockey at Massachusetts-Amherst in November 2009.

2010-11: Hanley skated in 28 of 35 games for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in his freshman season and was the leading scorer amongst defensemen for the Minutemen. The 19-year-old scored 3 goals with 15 assists and was -5 with 24 penalty minutes. Massachusetts-Amherst qualified for the Hockey East playoffs despite winning just six games and was swept by eventual national champion Boston College in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

2011-12: Hanley was the fourth-leading scorer for Massachusetts-Amherst in his sophomore season, leading all Minutemen defensemen with 25 points in 36 games. He scored 7 goals with 18 assists and was +12 with 18 penalty minutes. The Minutemen were tied for eighth with Northeastern but advanced to the Hockey East tournament due to tiebreaker criteria and were again swept by Boston College in the quarterfinals.

2012-13: Hanley was one of three defensemen to top 15 points for Massachusetts-Amherst under first-year coach John Micheletto. He scored 5 goals with 11 assists and was +1 with 46 penalty minutes in 33 games as a junior. The Minutemen missed the Hockey East tournament after finishing in ninth place.

2013-14: Hanley made his professional hockey debut with the AHL’s Portland Pirates in April following his senior season at Massachusetts-Amherst. He had 5 assists and was -4 with 6 penalty minutes in 15 regular season games for Portland. Hanley scored 2 goals with 14 assists in 34 games in his senior season at UMass and was -10 with 39 penalty minutes. The Minutemen finished 10th in the expanded Hockey East Conference, falling 2-1 to seventh-place Vermont in a tournament play-in game.

2014-15: Hanley skated in the Arizona Coyotes’ rookie camp but was not signed to a contract and returned to the AHL’s Portland Pirates for his first pro season. Briefly assigned to the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators in October, he skated in 63 regular season games for Portland, scoring 2 goals with 15 assists and finishing +7 with 34 penalty minutes. In five AHL playoff games he was +1 with 1 assist and no penalties. Hanley scored 1 goal and was +2 in his three-game stint with Gwinnett. The Montreal Canadiens signed Hanley to a one-year entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent in July 2015.

2015-16: Hanley made his NHL debut with the Canadiens in a March 20th game against Calgary, receiving a late season call-up after playing 64 games with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps in his second pro season. He had 6 assists in 10 games with Montreal and had an even plus/minus with no penalties, averaging 16 minutes of ice time. Hanley scored 5 goals with 8 assists and was -11 with 25 penalty minutes playing for the IceCaps. St. John’s missed the AHL playoffs, finishing fifth in the North Division.

Talent Analysis

Hanley is an offensively-inclined skating defenseman who has worked to refine his defensive play at the professional level. He does not play an overly physical style and can be out-muscled in small spaces but uses his skating ability to advantage and can put pressure on opponents with his passing and stick handling skills. He showed promise in a late-season call-up with Montreal at the end of the 2015-16 season but whether he can play at that level over a full season remains to be seen.


Hanley received a 10-game audition with Montreal late in the year after the Canadiens' blueline was decimated by injury. After an up-and-down 2015-16 season with the AHL's St. John's IceCaps, he showed some offensive promise with the Habs, recording six assists. Hanley's lack of bulk and inconsistent defensive game could be challenges at the NHL level but his offensive ability suggests some potential as a lower pairing defenseman with some power play value. Signed to a one-year contract by the Canadiens last summer, Hanley would become an unrestricted free agent if not tendered a qualifying offer by June 2016.

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Photo: With 53 points, Charles Hudon finished second in St. John's IceCaps team scoring. (Courtesy of Graig Abel/Getty Images)

Photo: With 53 points, Charles Hudon finished second in St. John’s IceCaps team scoring. (Courtesy of Graig Abel/Getty Images)



It has been one of the more tumultuous seasons in Montreal Canadiens history, and, as a result, players have shuttled up and down from its AHL affiliate in St. John’s at a higher volume than anticipated. Before the season began, it was unlikely that young players like Daniel Carr, Mike McCarron or Joel Hanley would wear the bleu, blanc et rouge this season, but instead those and several more have filled gaps in Montreal. As a result, 45 players have dressed for the IceCaps in St. John’s. But that hasn’t been the biggest story in Newfoundland, especially since the arrival of NHL all-star John Scott, who has now suited up in 26 games for the IceCaps. Read more»

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Photo: Nikita Scherbak put some muscle on during the offseason, walking into development camp at 200 pounds early in July. (Courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Photo: Nikita Scherbak put some muscle on during the offseason, walking into development camp at 200 pounds early in July. (Courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)



The Montreal Canadiens have had a busy off-season. Starting with the draft, the management team added some depth to their prospect pool by selecting skilled, character and two-way centermen, while beefing up their need on the blue line. General Manager Marc Bergevin was hard at work with a few free-agent signings, adding Joel Hanley, Bud Holloway, Ryan Johnston and Mark Barberio, improving the farm teams considerably. Read more»

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The new Hockey East season is now underway. The conference has expanded by one team for 2014-15 with the addition of the University of Connecticut, a team that was covered in part one of this Hockey East preview. Read more»

Hanley placing himself on the NHL’s radar with offensive ability

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Photo: University of Massachusetts defenseman Joel Hanley is looking to parlay a stint at the Columbus Blue Jackets' development camp into a more extended pro opportunity (courtesy of UMass Athletics)

Despite flying under the radar at times, Joel Hanley participated in the Columbus Blue Jackets' development camp this past summer, and he now looks to anchor the University of Massachusetts blue line this season.

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