Martin Hanzal is a nice player.
He never scores as much as you’d like, with 313 points in 608 games. After three years getting above 0.60 points per game, he’s dipped back to 0.51 in 51 games with the Arizona Coyotes this season, his 16 goals led the team. Defensively, he’s always among the top faceoff guys in the League and has traditionally been a decent possession player. If nothing else, he’s a 6-foot-6 center, which has always been part of the admiration from afar.
He’s also a pending unrestricted free agent, and the Minnesota Wild decided that all of this was worth acquiring him on Sunday. The Coyotes traded forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White and a 2017 fourth round choice to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2017 first round draft choice, a 2018 second round draft choice and a 2019 conditional fourth round draft choice. In addition, the Coyotes acquired forward Grayson Downing.
Arizona retained 50-percent of Hanzal’s $3.1 million cap hit, because that’s what Arizona does.
From Bob McKenzie, here are the conditions:
Conditional pick: If MIN wins one playoff round this year, it becomes 3rd round pick; if MIN wins two rounds, it becomes 2nd round pick.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 27, 2017
It’s a hell of a payment for the 30-year-old Hanzal. Consider current Wild center Eric Staal was traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the New York Rangers for prospect Aleksi Saarela and second-round picks in 2016 and 2017, and he’s a bit more, ahem, accomplished than Hanzal. If the Wild win two rounds, that’s a first and two seconds for potentially a rental.
But GM Chuck Fletcher knows where his team is: It’s in a conference with the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks, the Chicago Blackhawks and (if they make it) the Los Angeles Kings, a potential first-round foe. He knows that Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu are solid, but other teams go three-deep. Charlie Coyle is better used on the wing. Hanzal, meanwhile, is a rather perfect third-line center if in fact that’s where he’s cast.
This isn’t the Wild from last season, when they were in hot pursuit of a top-line center like Ryan Johansen. This year, they don’t need to upset the balance they have with Staal and Nino Niederreiter and Koivu with Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker. Hanzal with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville? There’s a lot to like there.
So on The Milbury Scale, we’re giving this trade:
This is a pretty hefty fee to acquire a third-line center, even in a weak draft where the Wild assume they’re drafting at the bottom of the first round. That said, Fletcher could look like a genius if this investment pays off with playoff success or if Hanzal decides he’d like to stay in Minnesota for a not-insane free-agent price.
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