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.

Will Rieder be Traded?


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By Tim Waugh

Arizona Coyotes Writer

 

Coyotes winger Tobias Rieder has made quite the name for himself in Arizona. Since being traded from Edmonton in 2013 for Kale Kessy, Rieder has notched 58 points over 154 games in both of his NHL seasons, for the Coyotes. At just the beginning of his career, Rieder is off to a great start garnering attention from around the league with his speed, skill and defensive play, along with his most recent appearance with the underdog finalists Team Europe in the resurrected World Cup of Hockey. More recently, however, the press has been surrounding the current contract talks between his camp and the Arizona Coyotes.

 

Rieder remains an RFA after his most recent three-year, $925k deal expired last season. His play as of last year demands a pay raise, there is no doubt, and both sides prepared for negotiations heading into the off-season. But that’s exactly where things hit a standstill, negotiations. Reports indicate the most recent attempt at a deal met with Chayka and the Coyotes offering $2.2 million per year while Rieder’s camp requested closer to $2.5-$2.7 million per year. The pay isn’t far off, but the term in mind for both sides is whats vastly different. While GM Chayka suggested a lower-price qualifying offer as well to compliment his longer term one, presumably to get Rieder back at the negotiating table for one year and to see if his play keeps improving, Rieder and his agent Darren Ferris are not impressed. “It would be best for both parties if they just traded him.” stated Ferris in an email to Craig Morgan of ArizonaSports.com.

 

What is causing a rift here, is term. Arizona wants to ultimately lock Tobi in long-term at a team-friendly price, and Rieder wants the ability to earn his raise sooner than later. Such is the plight of an RFA who’s potential is unforeseen by many. Shooting up from the same round (4th) of the same draft (2011) as the player traded for him, Rieder has risen from AHL probable to NHL regular. He has certainly made a case for himself with his 16-point increase to last season from the one prior, but with the way negotiations are looking, it might be too little too late to wet the lips of the Coyotes. With cheap, highly touted prospects on entry-level contracts itching to break onto the NHL roster, Rieder has less leverage than he would have two or three years ago.

 

Trade rumours have started to swirl, speculations have begun, names and propositions are being posted, tweeted and blogged. None of this means Rieder and the Coyotes being a doomed relationship is for certain, but with KHL deals offered to him, trades possibly being drafted up by other teams, and time till the season’s start wearing thin, Tobias Rieder has a lot of decisions to make and not a lot of time to make them.

Coyotes Acquire Lawson Crouse


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By Tim Waugh

Arizona Coyotes Writer

 

Coyotes GM John Chayka was back at it again this morning, making Arizona hockey a year-round spectacle. The Arizona Coyotes have traded their 3rd round pick in 2017 and a conditional 2nd in 2018 for Panthers prospect Lawson Crouse and veteran Dave Bolland.

 

Arizona possesses their own and Detroit’s 3rd rounder, the higher of the two by season’s end will be the one sent to Florida. The 2nd round pick in the deal becomes a 3rd in 2018 if Crouse does not play 10 games for Arizona in the 2016-17 season.

Lawson Crouse was the 11th overall pick in 2015 for the Panthers. Hoping to join his former gold-medal winning World Junior Championship teammates Max Domi and Anthony Duclair in Arizona next season, Crouse logged 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games for the Kingston Frontiacs of the OHL last year. A big, strong left winger, Crouse is more known for his size and puck protection than offense, but no slouch at scoring points either.

30-year-old center Dave Bolland is a veteran center, playing for Chicago, Toronto, and Florida in his nine years in the NHL. With a $5.5 million contract he inked after winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks still valid for 3 more years, and nowhere near as productive as he once was, the addition of Bolland seemed to be more of a cap subtraction for Florida. Although not worth the price tag, Bolland can still be a serviceable depth centerman for the Coyotes, bringing some extra experience to a ever-growing youth movement in the locker room. Bolland scored 5 points in his 25 games in Florida, also playing 2 games for their AHL affiliate Portland.

Releasing Antoine Vermette is Coyotes GM’s First Major Risk


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By Chris Garagiola

Arizona Coyotes Writer

 

*Vermette has since signed with the Anaheim Ducks

 

When the Coyotes waived Antoine Vermette and bought-out the remaining $3.75 million on his contract, the youngest GM in professional sports history took his first major gamble.

 

Vermette, a staple of the Coyotes for five of the previous six seasons has been cast out in favor of the youth movement taking place in the desert. He experienced a disappointing 2015-2016 season collecting 38 points in 76 games on the Coyotes second-line. And his removal on the roster, which will save the Coyotes 1.25M in cap space, now opens two spots at the center position which are expected to be filled by 2015 first-round pick Dylan Strome and 2014 second-rounder Christian Dvorak.

 

Should we be surprised that the youngest GM in pro sports is choosing youth over experience?

 

Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a major risk by Chayka.

 

Despite the dip in points, Vermette posted a 55.8 faceoff percentage (FO%) last season which was fourteenth-best in the NHL. In a time where puck-possession is paramount to team success, Vermette’s ability to win faceoffs ought to have been valuable given the departure of Boyd Gordon, another departure during the offseason who was third in the league last season with a 57.9 FO%.

 

Vermette has 988 games of professional experience underneath his veteran skates. He has scored 496 career points and is a Stanley Cup champion. He has been a consummate professional both in the locker room and off the ice for a franchise that has struggled financially and competitively, all during times when the club was rumored to be relocated again and again…and again.

 

Even if Vermette had another dip in numbers, you can probably bank on at least 30 points and a FO% above 52 percent.

 

Compare that to Dvorak and Strome who have never played a second in the NHL. For as talented as these prospects are, there is always the fear that they will never reach the potential hoisted on them by hockey pundits around North America.

 

There is no denying that Strome and Dvorak have proven their worth in junior hockey. Last season, Strome posted his second consecutive 130-plus point season for the Erie Otters of the OHL. He also represented Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Helsinki, and was a rare bright spot for an otherwise woeful performance by the Canadians netting four goals and two assists and a staggering 71.58 FO%. Did I forget to mention that Strome also went viral with his dazzling 1-on-4 goal earlier this season (which can be seen here).

 

Not to be overshadowed, Dvorak tallied 156 points in 77 games last season for the London Knights. He served as the team’s captain and led the Knights to the OHL title. Dvorak is considered an NHL-ready prospect and instead of having to decide between Strome or Dvorak, Chayka appears to want both.

 

Should Strome and Dvorak survive the final round of cuts in early October, the two will join one of the youngest rosters in the NHL (keep in mind that roster will include 40-year-old Shane Doan).

 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson is 25. Louis Domingue and Jordan Martinhook are 24. Connor Murphy and Tobias Reider (who has yet to be resigned) are 23. Max Domi is 21. Anthony Duclair is 20.
Dvorak and Strome are 20 and 19 years old, respectively. Other top prospects hungry for an NHL roster spot include Brendan Perlini, Christan Fischer, Laurent Dauphin, and Henrik Samuelsson who are all under the age of 23.

 

But what can you expect from Strome and Dvorak? What happens when the team hits an extended losing streak? What happens when each player hits their own scoring drought? How many points can you bank on from these two prospects? How will they react when they are being defended by Duncan Keith or Drew Doughty?

 

Who knows? That’s what make prospects both frustrating and exciting. They are the products fans invest their hopes into and GMs invest their job security—and like many investments, some never work out. For Coyotes fans, there has never been a more hopeful time for this team. Yet Coyotes fans know the pain of seeing prospects failing to pan out. Look no further than Brandon Gormley and Viktor Tikhonov.

 

Gormley was selected thirteenth overall in the 2010 NHL draft and was considered a future first-line pairing for the Coyotes. Like Ekman-Larsson, he was scouted as a talented two-way defenseman with excellent puck-moving IQ with terrific size and great vision.

 

Gormley never became the defenseman the Coyotes envisioned back when they drafted him in 2010. In 32 career games with the Coyotes, Gormley tallied just two goals and two assists before the Coyotes cut their losses by trading the young defenseman to Colorado for Stefan Elliot.

 

Viktor Tihkonov was the 28th overall selection in 2008 by the Coyotes. In the 2008–09 season, Tikhonov made the Coyotes’ opening-night roster and wound up playing in 61 games scoring 8 goals and 16 points before he was assigned to American Hockey League. Over the next seven years, Tikhonov played in 39 games with the Coyotes.

 

But probably at the top of Mount Failmore is the third overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft, Kyle Turris. Taken two spots behind Patrick Kane, Turris was a dynamic offensive player with a tremendously accurate shot and a legitimate point-producer. The Coyotes considered him to be the piece that the club could build around for the future. Instead Turris never scored more than 25 points in a single season with the club and frequently went back-and-forth to the AHL. After making the playoffs in 2010, he demanded a trade to Ottawa just six months later. In his two full seasons with Ottawa from 2013-2015, Turris twice scored at least 25 goals and had at least 58 points. Had he been on Arizona, he would have been the team’s leading scorer in both seasons by a wide margin.

 

Yet despite all of the failure, Chayka is fearlessly moving forward with his plan to integrate more youth and speed into an already young lineup. Clearly he wants to foster a young team and watch it grow for the next half decade using a model that the Chicago Blackhawks used in the late 2000s to revive their struggling franchise.

 

That plan began by saying goodbye to Vermette.

 

If Strome and Dvorak have an impact similar to Domi and Duclair then the Coyotes are going to be a force to reckon with for many years to come. Ekman-Larsson, Domi, Duclair, Strome and Dvorak will be the backbone that the rest of the team is built around. Keep in mind that Clayton Keller is being compared to Patrick Kane and Jacob Chychrun was once considered a top-five pick in the 2016 NHL Draft—and the Coyotes own both. Because of this, there has never been a more exciting (dare I say hopeful) time for this franchise.

 

If Strome or Dvorak don’t pan out, then fans will be left wondering if Chayka’s inexperience is to blame for pushing away such a savvy veteran in Vermette.

 

However, should the Coyotes prove to be legitimate players in the Western Conference this season and next, this move could be considered the genesis of a new age of hockey in the desert.

 

Only time will tell.

Kyle Turris on the Coyotes – What Could’ve Been


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By Tim Waugh

Arizona Coyotes Writer

 

December 17th 2011 is a date most Coyotes fans would rather forget. In the midst of budget issues, relocation rumours, and a season which produced what was the most electrifying playoff run in Coyotes franchise history, a trade was made. The effects of which would not be felt for long after, as at the time we thought we were trading damaged goods for damaged goods. Two prospects who had yet to find their way but had amazing potential, along with a draft pick going to the desert.

 

I am of course talking about the Kyle Turris trade.

 

* shudders *

 

Turris was exactly what we needed: a dynamic scoring centerman with star potential, and that’s precisely why we took him 3rd overall in 2007. “Gretzky Era” hockey in the desert is rarely associated with good ideas, but Turris was poised to be our 1C for years to come. So if you’re reading all of this without any previous knowledge to the trade you’re probably wondering… what happened?

 

Here is a quick refresher on what happened 5 years ago:

  • Turris became a free agent July 1, 2011, failed to negotiate a new contract.
  • Speculations of him demanding a trade swirled after him remaining unsigned through training camp.
  • In October of 2011, Turris’ agent Kurt Overhardt confirmed his trade request, saying it was “never about the money”.
  • Turris wasn’t happy about not getting top-line minutes right away, didn’t see eye-to-eye with Coach Dave Tippett.
  • Turris signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract on November 22nd 2011.

 

Personal feelings aside on the demand for a trade * cough* (I hope you burn in hell with Blake Wheeler) *cough*, this article is a focus on something people often ask me as their resident Coyotes fan friend: “What woulda happened if you guys didn’t trade Kyle Turris?” So here it is.

 

Around 3 weeks after he signed the two-year deal, Kyle Turris is sent to Ottawa for underachieving defenseman David Rundblad and a 2nd round pick. At the time, I was elated with the trade. My love for Turris turned to disdain shortly after news of the trade request, and a fresh start with a budding D prospect had me in high spirits. Sadly it didn’t take long for me to see that Rundblad would never match the hype he received from fans and analysts alike. Remember when everyone (myself included) thought him and Brandon Gormley were going to be elite defensemen?

 

If then-General Manager Don Maloney promised him the spot in the line-up he so desperately wanted and convinced Turris to sign a long-term deal to remain on the team, fan-favourite veteran (and recent buyout victim) Antoine Vermette would probably never have worn the sedona red. The Coyotes sent the 2nd rounder from Ottawa to Columbus along with goalie Curtis McElhinney (who would have been pretty sweet if we kept him, I feel) and a conditional 3rd in 2013 (which eventually ended up in LA, used to draft Justin Auger) in a deal for Vermette. Nobody expected the 29-year-old French-Canadian to make the impact he did in the desert, playing 291 games and racking up 149 points over his five years in Arizona. Known for his bursts of speed, play-making prowess and league-leading face-off ability, Antoine was more than effective for a team struggling to attract more talented players. Having Vermette playing up and down the depth chart however may have also effected our drafting over the last half decade. If we had a solid future top center like Turris locked in long term, would we be picking players like power-forward center Henrik Samulesson at 27th overall a year later? Or would we have our hands on a winger like Tanner Pearson who was taken by the Kings three picks later? Or perhaps now Devils defenseman Damon Severson who went 60th?

 

Naturally, there would be some other teams effected by the reversal of this deal outside of the initial trade partners. That 2nd round pick included in the trade was passed around multiple times before it was used. Ottawa sent it to Phoenix, who then dealt it to Columbus, where then it found its final home in Philadelphia in a deal that sent now All-Star, IIHF gold medal, and Vezina winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to the Blue Jackets for a trio of picks, the 2nd round pick being the centrepiece. The Flyers selected a great goalie prospect Anthony Stolarz with that 45th overall pick, and with also swapping Michael Leighton for Steve Mason, the winner of this deal still remains debated by some fans. Makes you wonder though how deep the ripple-effect of reversing this trade actually went around the league… *stares out of window into space longingly*.

 

There is a very key part of our current rebuild we would be missing had we not dealt Turris, and this is the part that makes the deal so satisfying in the end. Highly touted as our second best center in the prospect pool, and one of the best prospects in the league right now, everyone is awaiting this kid’s arrival to the NHL. It’s crazy to think in retrospect, but this player’s first NHL games might have been in a Blackhawks jersey. The 2014 2nd round pick we swapped for Rundblad with Chicago turned out to be Frankfort, IL native Christian Dvorak. A Bronze medallist for team USA in the World Junior Championship this year and an OHL and CHL champion, he most recently posted 121 points and a +56 for the London Knights in the regular season and 35 points in the 18 playoff games leading to their Memorial Cup win. Possibly the next big piece in the Arizona rebuild, he has impressed and dominated on every level of competition. Besting or mirroring Turris in every department at their respective age levels, even accounting for the vastly different programs they played for, Dvorak is the silver lining we have been waiting five years for.

 

No matter how you look at it, the Arizona rebuild happening now is the most promising the team has ever looked in all my years as a fan. The organization lost a lot of big names along the way, but none that I could have seen winning us a cup. I would say all things considered, we are better off having Turris make his exodus from the desert.

On the Fence – Revamped Coyotes Defense


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By Tim Waugh

Arizona Coyotes Writer

 

Newly appointed Coyotes General Manager John Chayka (pronounced Shy-ka) has been a busy man since the beginning of the off-season, signing and re-signing forwards like captain Shane Doan to a 1-year deal, and former Anaheim Ducks winger Jamie McGinn to a 3-year $10 million contract. But the impact made in his few short months as GM has been felt most on the blue line. Reaching into what seemed like the shallowest of pockets in seasons past, Chayka has spent some serious cash (well, for the Coyotes) on some quality help for OEL and co. Paired with an exceptional first year at the draft-floor table in Buffalo this past June, the players brought in are exciting and a breath of fresh air for fans everywhere.

 

Headlining the list of new names patrolling the Arizona blue line this year is far-and-away my favorite Free Agent acquisition in years, Alex Goligoski.

 

After notching 37 points and finishing +21 with Dallas last year, “Goose” is exactly what we need. He is a defenseman who is always getting in on the play and making crisp passes while staying reliable in his end, one may argue him to be a “budget Duncan Keith.” His offense is definitely his upside, and will excel in a system like the Coyotes’ where scoring is generated from the net out. Now, Goligoski has taken flak in the past for being a “poor defender” due to his size (5’11” 185 lbs). But the way he plays isn’t that of a traditional defender, but very indicative of the current speed of the game, which Chayka is keen to stay ahead of the curve on. His mobility and puck-handling skills attribute to his ability to make a play in his own end and have the puck end up 200 ft. away from his crease, or more favorably, in the opposition’s net. Now that’s my kind of defending. I am personally ecstatic to see him in the fall and how he impacts the squad.

 

A much less impactful signing, Luke Schenn was also brought into the fold on a $2.5 million contract spanning 2 years. As a big-hitting, right-handed defenseman, he is polar-opposite to his new colleague Goligoski. His value will lie in his ability to shut down opponents and make big clean hits, nobody is looking to this guy for the game winning goal or a stretch pass on the PK to send Boedker (now San Jose) Rieder (?) Duclair up the wing for a shorty. But what he offers the most is a luxury AZ hasn’t seen in years, and that’s flexibility. The choices we now have in our bottom 6 are getting more attractive by the week. Behind us are the days of having to call up the likes of Alex Grant whenever Michalek had one of his famous “lower body injuries.”

 

The re-signing of both Connor Murphy and Michael Stone were excellent in my opinion. Locking up Murphy to a six-year deal with an AAV of $3.85 million is a low-risk high-reward situation. He’s already shown exponential growth in his game, going from a -27 in the 14-15 season, to a +5 and more than doubling his best for points this past season. At 23 years young he is entering the prime of his career and learning how to play from an All-Star like Ekman-Larsson is doing him wonders already. Stone is also solid, but the team needs him to become something greater. Hopefully he comes off his injury right where he left off and earns a lengthy contract with the club.

 

Right now, you can expect our D-pairings to look something like this:

Ekman-Larsson  – Murphy

Goligoski  – Stone

Michalek/Connauton/Chychrun  – Schenn/D’Angelo
Some of you will notice I left Klas Dahlbeck out, and that’s because I feel he is the lesser of our possible choices, and will only see ice this year if one of the aforementioned left-shot defenders are injured or 16th overall 2016 selection Jakob Chychrun is sent down after camp. A former top-5 draft pick, Schenn will undoubtedly start the season due to Stone recovering from his recent surgery, it will be a good time for him, a once 5th overall pick, to fight for his roster spot and his place as an NHL regular.

 

I’ll be diving into some prospects in more detail as the summer rolls on, but I want to focus a bit on one right now. Anthony D’Angelo is high on my list of players to see this year. His skill is only eclipsed by his attitude issues that have enshrouded him since his early-OHL days. His season with Tampa Bay AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch last year was a productive one however, notching 37 assists and 43 points in 69 games. His booming shot and eye for offense would be a welcome edition to any team, and some scouts have been bold enough as to say he is a future All-Star. If Tippett can keep the young stud’s slurs and outbursts to a minimum, D’Angelo could be one of the biggest steals in desert hockey history.

 

Jamie McBain, Jarred Tinordi, and Kyle Wood are all on the outer-reaches of roster-hood as well, which will make for an exciting training camp for Yotes fans. There is no doubt the skill level at the position of defense has grown, maybe not upwards as much as it has outwards. That being said, flexibility staves off complacency, and a group of players competitive for roster spots is a group of players competitive on the ice.

2016 Offseason Power Rankings


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Every month, Hockey Trade Central will be posting Power Rankings. They will be posted the 1st of every month during the regular season, and will reflect the previous month’s play.

 

The Power Rankings are voted on by the writers.

 

Offseason Power Rankings are based on how well the teams drafted, how well they did in Free Agency, and the trades the teams have made.

 

2016 Offseason Rankings:

 

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins /
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning +1
  3. San Jose Sharks -1
  4. Dallas Stars +1
  5. Washington Capitals +2
  6. Nashville Predators /
  7. Florida Panthers +4
  8. Chicago Blackhawks +2
  9. St. Louis Blues -5
  10. New York Islanders -2
  11. Anaheim Ducks -2
  12. Los Angeles Kings +3
  13. Philadelphia Flyers /
  14. Minnesota Wild -2
  15. Detroit Red Wings -1
  16. Boston Bruins +1
  17. New Jersey Devils +3
  18. New York Rangers -2
  19. Carolina Hurricanes -1
  20. Buffalo Sabres +3
  21. Ottawa Senators -2
  22. Montreal Canadiens /
  23. Calgary Flames +3
  24. Arizona Coyotes /
  25. Winnipeg Jets /
  26. Colorado Avalanche -5
  27. Edmonton Oilers +2
  28. Toronto Maple Leafs +2
  29. Columbus Blue Jackets -2
  30. Vancouver Canucks -2

 

Previous Rankings:

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. San Jose Sharks
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning
  4. St. Louis Blues
  5. Dallas Stars
  6. Nashville Predators
  7. Washington Capitals
  8. New York Islanders
  9. Anaheim Ducks
  10. Chicago Blackhawks
  11. Florida Panthers
  12. Minnesota Wild
  13. Philadelphia Flyers
  14. Detroit Red Wings
  15. Los Angeles Kings
  16. New York Rangers
  17. Boston Bruins
  18. Carolina Hurricanes
  19. Ottawa Senators
  20. New Jersey Devils
  21. Colorado Avalanche
  22. Montreal Canadiens
  23. Buffalo Sabres
  24. Arizona Coyotes
  25. Winnipeg Jets
  26. Calgary Flames
  27. Columbus Blue Jackets
  28. Vancouver Canucks
  29. Edmonton Oilers
  30. Toronto Maple Leafs