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Martin Hanzal Traded To Minnesota Wild
- Updated: February 26, 2017
As has been rumored – Martin Hanzal is now gone
Today, as Arizona Coyotes’ center Martin Hanzal was getting ready for a 6:30 pm puck drop, he got word he was traded. Per Craig Custance of ESPN, the Minnesota Wild receive Hanzal, forward Ryan White, and Arizona’s 2017 fourth-round pick in exchange for Minnesota’s 2017 first-rounder (#30), a 2018 second-round pick, and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2019. The conditional fourth-round Minnesota pick could become as low as a second-round pick, depending on where the Wild finish in the playoffs. The Arizona Coyotes also received center Grayson Downing of the AHL Iowa Wild in the trade. Grayson, 24, has tallied 26 goals and 39 assists in 107 AHL games. He stands 6’ 0”, and weighs in at 196 pounds.
Per Sarah McLellan of azcentral.com, Martin Hanzal got the word just before 5 pm Arizona time, and he immediately left Gila River arena.
How this affects the game tonight
The trade caused immediate changes to the starting lineup for the Arizona Coyotes. They were playing against the visiting Buffalo Sabres. Josh Jooris was put into emergency service at center. Kevin Connuaton, a defenseman who filled in on the forward line once already this season, stepped in to play right wing.
With this trade, it becomes quite obvious that either GM John Chayka is stocking draft choices for the future, or for some additional deals before the trade deadline on Wednesday. It would not be unlikely to see him move Radim Vrbata, and even Shane Doan. Doan is considering waiving his no-trade clause to join a Cup contender this season. Vrbata’s stock has risen steadily. He leads the team in scoring with 14 goals, 30 assists, and could be used by a team needing some additional scoring on the wing. If Vrbata gets his traveling papers, that would significantly reduce the scoring possibilities for the Desert Dogs. Between Vrbata, White, and Hanzal, they contributed 37 goals.
Hold on to your hats
This trade could be just the beginning of more wheeling and dealing by GM John Chayka. He has built a treasure chest of assets, and even with what is rumored to be a weak draft this year, he has many options. Now, he just needs to evaluate along with V.P. of Hockey Operations/Head Coach Dave Tippett what this team needs to move up in the standings. After 60 games this season, the Yotes have only accumulated 49 points with a 21-32-7 record. The deals which are being made are to get this team out of their doldrums of not making the playoffs for four straight seasons.
The youth and speed on the Arizona Coyotes is something to watch. Losing Martin Hanzal will surely decrease their faceoff wins, as Hanzal led the team with a 56 percent win ratio. Hanzal also got the tough assignments to cover larger centers from other teams. His one downfall was his propensity of getting injured. Hanzal missed nine games this season due to injury.
The only bright spot for Hanzal and White is that they will be in the playoffs this season on their new team. The Wild are receiving what they hope will be two pieces to the puzzle which will allow them to progress throughout the playoffs.
For the Arizona Coyotes, the future is looking bright with all the young players they are developing, and others they will draft.
For fans of the Coyotes, it’s always tough to lose players you have followed. Hanzal has been with the team for ten years, and established friendships with players like Doan. It was not easy for Hanzal to say his farewells to his mentor, Shane Doan.
Such is life in the NHL.