To Re-Sign or Trade Martin Hanzal


By Tim Waugh
Staff Writer

Even since before the first day of the 2016-2017 NHL season, speculations surrounding Martin Hanzal and his future in Arizona have been called into question. As a team in the later stages of a long rebuild, yearning to enter the competitive side of the league, what do you do with a 30-year-old, 6’6″ center about to enter unrestricted free agency? On one hand, he’s a type of player that realistically any team would love to have, but on the other, Hanzal has a few traits that some Coyotes fans think they would rather live without.

Keeping Him

One of the hardest things to find in the NHL is everything that Martin Hanzal embodies; a large, skilled centerman than can create offense and win face-offs proficiently. At any skill level, these players are valued by each and every team. What the Coyotes have in Hanzal is more than just points on a sheet, the style he brings to the team are what have made him a fan-favorite. The 2005, 17th overall pick is famous for his net-front presence on the power play, making the life of the defending goalie miserable as his defenseman are left to try and out muscle the towering Czech. Another area of the game he excels in is something that is never in low demand.

The man is skilled at taking face-offs, there is no denying this.

tweeted:
Martin Hanzal in top 25 in FO% by year:
2016-17: 53.7% 22nd in NHL
2015-16: 56.0% 13th in NHL
2013-14: 54.5% 18th in NHL
1/13/17, 1:50pm ET

Every coach will agree with this statement, “possession ultimately wins you games;” and Hanzal, using his size to his advantage in this area of his game by holding his own as one of the league leaders, is dazzling for prospective GM’s looking to go deep in the upcoming playoffs.

Now his offense leaves much to be desired for a guy logging 1st line minutes on a regular basis, but despite never potting more than 16 goals and breaking the 40-point plateau only twice in his career, he’s still one of the better point producers for the Coyotes in recent years for how many games he misses due to injury (we’ll get to that). This year he is on track to beat his personal best for goals in a season (has 15 as of Feb. 24th), and with the Coyotes youth around him slowly becoming more productive themselves, he will only get better by association.

The 30-year-old, “Glass Giant” Hanzal has an AAV of $3.1 mil, and will be looking at a raise to only $4-$5 mil at the very max. The point production just isn’t there to justify the kind of money a 1C typically makes and I doubt he would get a matching offer anywhere else in the league in this salary cap-ruled era, especially with how often he has been injured in the past. It seems that the corrective back surgery he received a few off-seasons ago fixed the majority of his recurring injury problems, which is a good thing, but the kind of style he plays and sheer size take a much bigger toll on a player’s longevity.

The ideal outcome of keeping Martin Hanzal would be if he re-signs in the offseason in a 3 year, $12 million deal, but it will probably be closer to 4 or 5 years.

Trading Him

Hanzal is one of the biggest (of the most plausible) names in the rumor mill this season, as the March 1st trade deadline creeps closer. It was reported by Pierre LeBrun of TSN that as many as 10 teams have inquired or shown interest in Hanzal at the end of January, that number has more than likely risen since due to demand and his play drastically improving as of late. Several teams are confirmed to have shown interest so far; Montreal, Minnesota and Chicago, to name a few. With GM John Chayka setting the asking price as high as a 1st round pick, a top prospect, and an additional pick (as per the reported deal with Montreal of said picks and prospect Michael McCarron) will teams bite? Chayka also has been quoted stating he “would rather get an NHL ready player in return for Marty.”

Hanzal is 30 years old, coming off a long deal and looking for a raise. Not a lot of contenders have room to re-sign him past this season, so him being purely a rental for a lot of teams will be a hard sell for that kind of price.

As Arizona fans, to have our cake and eat it too, trading Hanzal just to have him re-sign with us in the offseason would be astounding and not that unlikely. The salary cap is staying where it is next season, which means contenders who trade for his services will have a hard time re-signing him after their playoff campaign unless he takes a massive pay-cut.

Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Clayton Keller and potentially our 2017 1st round pick are our future 1C and 2C options going forward. Hanzal playing 2nd or dare I say 3rd line center behind one of these kids would bring depth to the roster we haven’t seen in years, but also trading him to bolster a position we need major help in (right wing comes to mind) could be an answer to our woes offensively.

Some potential trades for Hanzal.

To CHI:
C Martin Hanzal (50% of salary retained)

To ARI:
2017 conditional 2nd round pick (becomes 1st round pick if Chicago makes it to Western Conference Finals)
RW Ryan Hartman

This one is a bit tougher because Ryan Hartman is one of the few-remaining jewels in the Blackhawks system. The right-handed right winger has 24 points in 54 games this season, getting his first real good look at an NHL level. Having been cultivated by the Hawks for years and finally showing his value, Hartman has also been tied to Chicago due to his low AAV for his skill, but could he be separated from Chicago for the services of Hanzal?

To MIN:
C Martin Hanzal

To ARI:
2017 1st round pick
RW Alex Tuch

Tuch is the Wild’s 2014 18th overall selection, and putting up 12-15-27 in 37 games with Iowa (AHL). Another natural right winger the Coyotes sorely need when Vrbata and Doan retire. The Wild are stocked to the brim with prospects, and Tuch might just be the price of getting Hanzal to help them win their first Stanley Cup.

To MTL:
C Martin Hanzal

To ARI:
2017 1st round pick
RW Michael McCarron

As it has been discussed publicly before, no doubt the Canadiens want Hanzal’s help at center. Galchenyuk and Plekanec are their only decent options at center right now, and as much as I don’t think we need a player like McCarron even if he is a right winger, this trade can’t be denied as a probability.

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Who’ll Acquire Shattenkirk?


By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

Kevin Shattenkirk, 27-years-old will not be part of the St. Louis Blues next year. Shattenkirk is currently making $4.25 million and will likely expect a hefty raise next year. St. Louis cannot take his cap hit any longer, and a bidding war is reportedly taking place between the Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Let’s explore what it would take for each team to acquire Shattenkirk. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s being reported that a deal isn’t closed to being reached between Shattenkirk and St. Louis.

 

Arizona Coyotes:

As explained in previous stories, the Coyotes have hired GM John Chayka, and he’ll be wanting to put his stamp on the team. Shattenkirk is an excellent right-handed defenseman who actually knows how to score. He got 88 points combined in his previous 2 seasons. Defense is something the Coyotes need to address and will likely address at this year’s draft with the likes of Olli Juolevi or Mikhail Sergachev.

 

But what about what they could do now? Chayka has already acquired the negotiating rights to Alex Goligoski, and it looks like he’s going to sign a 5 year deal. That’s evidence enough that Chayka isn’t only thinking about the future.

 

Let’s take a look at the possible defensive pairings should the Coyotes sign Goligoski and acquire Shattenkirk.

 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Kevin Shattenkirk

Alex Goligoski – Michael Stone (currently injured)

Klas Dahlbeck/Niklas Grossmann – Connor Murphy/Zybnek Michalek

 

Personally, if Shattenkirk is acquired, once Stone is recovered the Coyotes should look into trading Michalek again.

 

But what would Chayka be willing to give up? You’re mind probably automatically goes to the Coyotes’ 7th overall pick. While that seems obvious, I think Chayka is comfortable at 7. The Coyotes also have the 20th overall pick and two 2nd round picks. Maybe they could be involved. Maybe package the 20th overall plus a second round pick with a mid-low end prospect? It’s been reported that the Coyotes have received an impressive offer for the 7th overall. Could it be for Kevin Shattenkirk?

 

Maybe add a top-scoring forward for the right price (say Okposo, Ladd?) and the Coyotes look pretty good going into next season. It’ll be interesting to see what Chayka does with the Coyotes this summer.

 

Edmonton Oilers:

It’s no secret Edmonton needs an overhaul and help on the blue line. Shattenkirk would be a good fit in Edmonton. But what would the Oilers be willing to give up? They have the 4th overall pick as well as a 2nd and three 3rd round picks. It’s hard to imagine Shattenkirk going for the 4th overall straight up.

 

It’s going to be hard for the Blues to get the 4th overall straight up. Maybe throw in one of their 2nd/3rd round picks?

 

Edmonton’s current defensive lineup is just straight up bad. Adding a top D-Man is crucial. Let’s look at their lineup adding Shattenkirk.

 

Andrej Sekera – Kevin Shattenkirk

Oscar Klefbom – Andrew Ference

Brandon Davidson – Mark Fayne

Nikita Nikitin – Adam Clendening

 

Not perfect, but a definite improvement. Peter Chiarelli needs to look into this, especially considering that Sekera isn’t getting any younger.

 

Boston Bruins:

First off, I’m not really sure how Boston gets this done. They’re in a tight cap situation right now, so Shattenkirk would likely just be a rental. Boston isn’t exactly in a position to be renting players.

 

But let’s explore. They have 2 first round picks and 1 second round picks. Maybe they could package their late first and their second? Maybe even throw in the rights to an expiring contract to sweeten the pot? Also, I think they’d have to add Adam McQuaid in there somehow in order to get some cap relief. So maybe instead of the second round pick it’s the first and McQuaid? Not to mention McQuaid and Shattenkirk are both right-handed. This would then be considered an upgrade from McQuaid.

 

Let’s take a look at their potential lineup. This is assuming all the players listed in this lineup are re-signed somehow and McQuaid is involved in the trade.

 

Zdeno Chara – Kevin Shattenkirk

Torey Krug – Dennis Seidenberh

Joe Morrow – Kevan/Colin Miller

 

That’s an upgraded defense. It’ll be interesting to see if Boston can swing Shatty, especially given the fact that they have cap troubles and a lot of contract drama.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs:

The Toronto Maple Leafs are another rebuilding team looking in the now. The acquisition of goalie Frederik Andersen shows this. A solid defender could help their season next year. It’s rumored that they’re currently offering James van Riemsdyk to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Cam Fowler. Let me start off by saying that makes the most sense considering Anaheim is looking for another top-six forward. Also, St. Louis will likely not be interested in JVR due to cap issues.

 

What else could they trade? Obviously not the first overall, that’s not going anywhere. But they do have 2 second round picks and quite the prospect pool. I was thinking something along the lines of the 2 second round picks and Scott Harrington.

 

Let’s look at their prospective lineup with Shattenkirk:

 

Jake Gardiner – Kevin Shattenkirk

Jared Cowen – Morgan Rielly

Andrew Campbell – Matt Hunwick

 

Not great, but certainly an improvement from last year’s lineup. Also, they’d have to find a way to dump Stephane Robdias. But given their cap surplus, that’s not crucial.

 

 

 

Nugent-Hopkins Possible Destinations


By Andrew Muirhead

Staff Writer

 

Peter Chiarelli’s Edmonton Oilers are in desperate need of some blue line support, someone who can be a go-­to shutdown defender for years to come during this rebuild. It’ll most likely take one of the Oilers’ young superstars, Ryan Nugent-­Hopkins or Jordan Eberle to land said top blue­liner. Taylor Hall, who is most likely to be Edmonton’s next captain, will not be going anywhere. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl certainly aren’t going anywhere as they will be Edmonton’s future down the center. Due to Eberle’s poor performance since returning from injury, Nugent-­Hopkins is the player most likely to be moved. The former first overall pick will likely be on the move at or around the NHL Draft on June 24th. Let’s look at some possible destinations:

 

Nashville Predators:

The Predators are definitely in need of some top-­six scoring, knowing that second line center Mike Fisher is 36-years-old and will most likely not be in the league much longer. Nashville made an exchange during the 2015­-16 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, trading away Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen who they knew would be that first line center they’d been searching for, but they could be searching for more. Nashville obviously would not be willing to part ways with Shea Weber or Roman Josi, leaving a couple young-­guns named Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis. These two defensemen of the 2009 draft class had strong seasons with the Preds, Ekholm recording 35 points in 82 games with a plus 14 rating and Ellis with 32 points in 79 games with a plus 13 rating. Although neither have much top­-four experience, Edmonton will definitely show some interest during this year’s draft. This exchange could definitely address some needs for both teams, and not leave either in cap trouble for years to come.

 

Minnesota Wild:

The Wild have a handful of very slightly above average guys down the middle and could use the no-­doubt 1st or 2nd line center in Ryan Nugent-­Hopkins. Minnesota finished in the bottom half of the league for goals per game so they could definitely use a boost, and seeing as the 33 year old captain Mikko Koivu is only going to get older, this kind of acquisition becomes even more important for the future. The Wild have a surplus of young defensemen in their system, but most notably, Matt Dumba (RFA) and Jared Spurgeon. Dumba really proved himself this year as a top defenseman for the Wild who have now made the playoffs four straight years. I think Dumba’s rights will be of higher interest for Edmonton as he is 5 years younger than Spurgeon and has much more room to grow into an NHL superstar. The only issue with this deal is that the Wild will most likely have to free up some cap room for RNH’s $6M cap hit. Definitely possible that Coyle’s contract for $3.2M over the next 4 years would be moved to free up some room so the Wild can re­-sign some players. Although this exchange would benefit both organizations, I think Edmonton would be on the winning side of this deal as they would address a very big issue while throwing a guy into the mix that could possibly turn into an absolute beast for the Oilers in years to come.

 

Ottawa Senators:

The Sens are another team with a couple of slightly above average centers who have had to step up into the number 1 and 2 center roles. Obviously, Nugent­-Hopkins can be there to take up that top spot or maybe even the second. Nugent-Hopkins and Kyle Turris would make an excellent one-two-punch down the center. The Senators would probably have to give up 22-year-old defenseman, Cody Ceci in order to acquire their much needed 1st/2nd line center. Ceci posted a career best 10 goals and 26 points in 75 games as well as a plus 9 rating. He can be a solid defender in his own zone as well as some production on the offensive side for the Oilers. This will be a solid deal for both teams, although Ottawa will be taking in RNH’s hefty contract of $6M for the next 5 years, they will still be left with about $11.5M to resign players.

Islanders Moving on from Okposo: Landing spots


By Bobby Bauders

Senior Writer/Editor

 

Let’s face it, Kyle Okposo is not going to be a New York Islander anymore. This was all but confirmed when in an interview General Manager Garth Snow said they “wish him the best.”

 

Okposo who is now 28 is expected to draw huge interest on July 1st.

 

New York is having a difficult situation with the upcoming flat salary cap. Okposo has spent his entire nine year career with the Islanders organization.

 

In those nine year, Okposo played 529 games earning 139 goals and 369 points. This season he played 79 games, but came short of the 25 goal mark with 22 tallies. This was Okposo’s second most productive season with 64 points. With 11 games played in the playoffs he scored 2 goals and 8 points.

 

There’s always a chance that Snow could trade Okposo’s negotiating rights, but I don’t see that happening.

 

Okposo is going to be a highly scrutinized free agent given the interest coming from teams around the league and the salary he will likely command. Some teams he may end up with are the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, and Arizona Coyotes. Okposo is likely to garner a $5.5 – $6.5 million cap hit.

 

Minnesota Wild:

The Minnesota Wild are tired of having their hearts broken in the first round. Okposo could just be the combination of scoring and grit to get them to the second round and beyond. Although, Okposo will want a raise from his current contract with the Isles. Minnesota is projected to have about $7.5 million left in cap space. This could potentially leave Minny with only $1 million to sign other free agents.

 

Nashville Predators:

Nashville seems like the most likely option to me. The Predators are projected to have $11.5 million in their cap space. That’s impressive for a team that’s routinely competitive. With Okposo signing that would leave about $5 million to sign any other assets, or to keep on the books for a rainy day. Can you imagine the grit and scoring a line with James Neal, Kyle Okposo and Ryan Johansen? Sick. I could see the Preds in the Western Conference Final with a squad they would have.

 

Florida Panthers:

The Florida Panthers are another front-runner. They an even more impressive cap than Nashville: $20.8 million. That’s insane. Florida could use the extra production and grit to push them even farther through the playoffs. They also have the leadership of Jagr as a negotiation ploy. Not to mention a great young core that Okposo might be interested in signing long term with.

 

Arizona Coyotes:

The Coyotes have a new young 27-year-old GM in John Chayka. What does that mean? It means he’s going to look to make a splash. What better way to splash into the NHL pool than to sign one of the most coveted free agents on the market. Convincing Okposo to sign with the Coyotes may be difficult considering the club’s difficulties on and off the ice. But Chayka may find success in selling Arizona’s bright future to Okposo. Not to mention that he would be a fantastic fit with Head Coach Dave Tippett. Arizona’s cap space is a gigantic $37 million, so cap is not even close to being an issue here. Chayka definitely has spending room.

Looking at possible Patrick Sharp Trades


By Bobby Bauders

 

Obviously Patrick Sharp will not be on the Chicago Blackhawks next year. That’s no secret. They can no longer afford him. Let’s look at possible trades.

 

Florida gets:

Patrick Sharp – Winger

 

Chicago gets:

Derek MacKenzie – Center

2015 3rd Round Draft Pick – Pittsburgh

2017 3rd Round Draft Pick – Florida

 

Derek MacKenzie is a cheap replacement for Antoine Vermette. He’s not as good as Vermette, but it’ll do. Chicago asking price is a 2nd round and 3rd round. MacKeznie plus another 3rd in 2017 will have to do. Chance of happening: 35%

 

Washington is also targeting Sharp.

 

Washington gets:

Patrick Sharp – Winger

 

Chicago gets:

2015 3rd Round Draft Pick – Buffalo

2015 4th Round Draft Pick – Washington

2016 3rd Round Draft Pick – Washington

2016 7th Round Draft Pick – Washington

 

I don’t really see this trade happening. 30% chance. Washington doesn’t really want to pay this much, but it’s possible.

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins have the greatest chance of getting Sharp. 40% chance.

 

Pittsburgh:

Patrick Sharp – Winger

 

Chicago gets:

Chris Kunitz – Winger

2015 5th Round Draft Pick – Pittsburgh

 

The only problem I see with this is, it’s counter-intuitive. Kunitz is only slightly cheaper than Sharp.

Minny could be in on Kessel


By Bobby Bauders

 

The Toronto Maple Leafs want Phil Kessel gone. Kessel wants to be gone. Could Minnesota suit both their desires? Maybe. Probably not. But maybe. Toronto wants a goalie. Minnesota now has an overly-confident goalie in Devan Dubnyk, who’s trade value has no doubt sky rocketed.

 

Minnesota gets:

Phil Kessel – Winger

2015 3rd Round Draft Pick – Toronto

 

Toronto gets:

Devan Dubnyk – Goalie

Jason Pominville – Winger

2015 4th Round Draft Pick – Minnesota

 

The Leafs want younger players, and I think they’d settle with Pominville. He’s a great scorer. Just imagine what he’d do under Mike Babcock.

 

Overall, I think this trade has a 20% chance of happening. The Wild really don’t want to give up Devan Dubnyk, who’s proven himself to be worth more than the 3rd round pick Minnesota acquired him for.