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.

Blackhawks Training Camp Standouts


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By Sam Yoder

Chicago Blackhawks Writer

 

On September 24th 2016 the Chicago Blackhawks held their 8th annual training camp festival. This is the main event of the training festival and features a “Red vs White” scrimmage of prospects and current NHL players. The roster for this year’s game included well known Blackhawks players such as Brent Seabrook, Scott Darling, Andrew Desjardins, and Michal Rozsival, alongside top tier prospects such as Alexander DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz, and Mark McNeill. The format for the event is a regulation NHL game followed by a 10 minute 3v3 fourth period, with players approximately evenly split between the two teams. After attending the event a few people players stood out, and I will mention a few of them here.

 

Firstly, 22 year old center Vincent Hinostroza should be relatively well known to most avid Blackhawks fans after playing his first 7 games last season, and he stood out for team Red after scoring two goals in the 3v3 period, both of which were after some impressive personal efforts in the slot. He was defensively and offensively responsible all game, and was consistently in the right place, doing the right things, with and without the puck. If he gets the chance I can see him slotting in on the third line as a real depth contributor this season, most likely on the wing instead of down the middle.

 

Another young player I was happily surprised by was 2016 second round draft pick Alexander DeBrincat. He is generously listed at 5’7” and in the thick of it he does look small compared to the other players. You quickly forget this as you watch him weave through defensemen and work his way towards the net. He plays a fearless brand of hockey around the net, and if he grows an inch or two and puts a few pounds on he will be a rock solid prospect, and don’t forget he is only 18!

 

Another player with a lot to prove is Richard Panik. The first line left wing role is still very much open to all comers and Panik seems to be one of the best options. He might not bring the same amount of pure talent as previous Blackhawks players such as Sharp and Saad, but he is absolutely relentless, and can snipe a shot from time to time. His ability to both cause and pounce on turnovers impressed me a lot last year, and his performance in this game was a great illustration of this. I think he would be a great compliment to Jonathan Toews up front, and I think it would be a shame if he doesn’t get the chance.

 

Lastly I must mention a player who stood out to me in a negative way. Jordin Tootoo was recently signed by the Blackhawks to fill a hole which doesn’t exist. There are plenty of tough players on this team, and there isn’t room for a player who’s main method of contribution is simply being a rough and tumble guy who hits everything who moves (especially on a team that already has 6’4”, 220lbs Brandon Mashinter on an incredibly budget friendly $0.575M contract). In contrast to the aforementioned players he was consistently out of position, he constantly dropped passes and gave the puck away, and the rare times he actually was in position to take a shot they tended to end up high and wide. I appreciate the idea of having a veteran presence on a progressively younger team, but if his most impressive stat is his ability to consistently amass 100+ penalty minutes a season, I think he might be better served in the press box, letting some “kids” have their shot at the big time.

Blackhawks Defensive Depth at Center


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By Sam Yoder

Chicago Blackhawks Writer

 

As we sit in the dog days of summer I have gotten the sense that the Hawks moves for the summer are starting to slow down. Now that the Vesey sweepstakes have ended (which the Hawks did not win), I want to start looking at the team as it sits now. The aspect that I will focus on today is something of old news, but I think it will really inform how the next few years will go for the Hawks.

 

If you look across the bottom of the leader board this last season, almost all of the teams (Edmonton excluded) seem to be completely lacking depth at center, instead when you look at the teams who have had great success (see Pittsburgh this year for a phenomenal example), they have at least three solid centers to carry them along.

 

Much has already been written about the dynamic Hawks second line with the award winning pairing of Kane and Panarin on the wings, anchored by Artem Anisimov down the middle. With the amount of articles I’ve read, or interviews I’ve heard, about how underrated Anisimov is, can he really be called underrated any more? Similarly I don’t think I need to say much about Jonathon Toews. Clearly he is one of the most talented leaders in the game right now, and a true two way, number one center that any team would be luck to have. The center who I think many people gloss over is Marcus Kruger.

 

Marcus Kruger is the perfect shut down center man for the Blackhawks. During the 2015 cup run he, along with Desjardins and Shaw, faced off against their opponents top lines night after night. They were buried in the defensive zone, and while they didn’t play the most minutes on the team, they played some of the hardest. Last year was no different, with 81.3% defensive zone starts, he had his back to the wall most of the time he stepped on the ice, and despite this his Corsi For % of 48.4 and Fenwick For % of 49.2 are impressive. Without looking at the context he played in a 48.4 Corsi isn’t great. However, when compared to Artem Anisimov for example, who had a Corsi For % of 50.2 and a Fenwick for % of 48.8 with a whopping 67.1% of his zone starts in the offensive zone, you can see why I am very happy with Marcus Kruger’s possession numbers.

 

Another way to look at his impact, is to examine how the Hawks play both with and without him in the lineup, especially on the penalty kill. From December 18th to March 26th last year Kruger was unable to play after surgery due to a wrist injury. Going into this period the Hawks had the 9th best PK unit in the league, which was in no small part due to Marcus Kruger’s phenomenal play. By March 15th they had dropped to 25th in the league. In 13 games without him in the lineup they dropped from being a top 10 powerplay, to a bottom 10 powerplay team. Another way to represent this statistically is that before his injury they had a penalty kill percentage of 82.4% and a shots against per 60mins of 54.8. While he was gone the PK% dive bombed to 76% and they were now facing 70.1 shots per 60mins. These stats combined to allow the other team an average of 2 goals per 60 minutes more against the Blackhawks while he was gone. Even more impressive is that for the rest of the season after he returned the team had a powerplay percentage of 95.2% (absolutely amazing, and even better than before he was injured), their shots against dropped back to 54.5 per 60mins, and their goals against per 60mins dropped a full 5.6 goals down to 2.9 per 60mins.

 

When he signed a three year extension back in March (with an AAV of $3.1M). I heard a lot of complaints about both the term, and the cap hit. Some fans complained that they felt like he is replaceable, and generally pointed to his mediocre at best offensive stats to back that up. However I disagree completely. The Hawks haven’t had this level of security down the middle in years, and I would argue that Marcus is someone they need in the team. Yes Toews is an elite level defensive forward when he needs to be, but with the Hawks’ recent lack of scoring, they need him contributing up front. With a bottom six center like Kruger in the lineup coach Quenneville can confidently leave the dirty work to Kruger’s line, and let Toews and Anisimov get the glory, goals, and assists up front.

Cap Constricted Hawks Reliant on Youth


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By Sean Ambrosia
Chicago Blackhawks Writer
            For the better part of the past decade, the Chicago Blackhawks have established themselves as a salary-cap era dynasty by building around a consistent core of all-star talent. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Brent Seabrook have all been major pieces of a team that has won 3 of the past 7 Stanley Cups. But cap considerations, caused largely by the contracts that Hawks have given to these stars, have forced the team to fill out the back end of their ’16-17 roster with unproven young talent. This summer, Chicago has lost Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teräväinen, Bryan Bickell, and Andrew Ladd, all of whom played important roles on cup winning squads with the franchise, to trades and free agency. The reacquisition of 2010 Cap winner Brian Campbell will help with defensive depth, but beyond the 37 year-old blueliner the Hawks haven’t really made a major move to replace their departing role players. GM Stan Bowman has shown confidence in the NHL readiness of his prospects, and if the Hawks are going to make a serious run at their 4th Cup in 8 years, they’ll need several of those prospects to step into impact roles and prove him right. Here are 4 of those NHL ready prospects who have the best chance of being significant pieces on the ’16-17 Blackhawks:
 

Nick Schmaltz– FWD

The Hawks’ 2014 first round pick signed a 3-year entry level deal in June, forgoing his junior year at the University of North Dakota, whom he lead to a national championship last season, to go pro. Schmaltz is widely considered the best prospect in the Hawks system, and in February was ranked the 36th best NHL prospect by TSN. Schmaltz impressed scouts with his performance for Team USA during the World Juniors last season. Like fellow UND alum turned Chicago Blackhawk, Jonathan Toews, Schmaltz is a Centerman who plays both side of the puck with grit, and shows the potential to develop into one of the team’s leaders. Known for his versatility as a forward, Schmaltz can also play on either wing as needed.
If Joel Quenneville decides to pair Marian Hossa with Marcus Kruger on the third line, as he experimented with at the end of last season, Schmaltz might be asked to fill a major hole next to Jonathan Toews on the first line. If not, Schmaltz is likely to make the team as a 3rd or 4th liner to start the year.

Tyler Motte– FWD

Like Schmaltz, Tyler Motte signed an entry-level contract with the Hawks this summer, rather than returning to the NCAA for his Senior year. The University of Michigan Wolverine was the 121st pick in the 2013 NHL draft, and his first two seasons in Ann Arbor were lackluster. Last year however, Motte exploded on to the scene putting up 56 points in 38 games, good for 3rd in the nation (behind his two Michigan linemates). His efforts last season won him a spot as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the nation’s best college hockey player. Motte also played briefly for the AHL Rockford IceHogs on an amateur try-out deal last season, posting up 5 points in 5 games. In addition to his point production, Motte’s defensive game is one of the best among Hawks forward prospects. In 2015, he lead all NCAA forwards in shot-blocks with 70.
If Motte starts the season in the NHL, the 5’9″, 190 lb winger would likely slot into the bottom 6. Despite his size howver, Motte eventually projects to crack the top 6, possibly replacing Richard Panik on the Toews line.

Ville Pokka– D

The Finnish D-man was a piece in the 2014 trade that sent Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders. The 24 year-old Pokka is a former 2nd round pick and an alum of the top Finnish Professional League. Pokka will represent his country in the World Cup of Hockey this fall, making him one of 12 Hawks players selected to World Cup rosters. Pokka has been described by scouts as an offensive-minded Defenseman with an excellent hockey sense who excels at moving the puck in transition. His talent for positioning and puck handling will fit very well with what Joel Quenneville wants out of  D-core.
Pokka has spent the past two season in the AHL with Rockford, but the Hawks’ depth issues may afford him the chance to play at the NHL level next season. However, with 4 of the defensive spots set going into the season, Ville will be competing for the remaining two starting slots with 3 or 4 of his teammates including Trevor van Riemsdyk, Victor Svedburg, and the newly acquired Michal Kempany.

Ryan Hartman– FWD

The Hawks have been hoping for their 2013 first round pick to break out for the past couple of seasons. The Chicago-area native has spent most of the past 2 years in the AHL, playing a grand total of 8 NHL games since he debuted in February of 2015. In Rockford, Hartman has scored 79 points in 139 games. Hartman is also known as one of the most penalized players in the AHL, racking up 257 minutes over the course of his time in Rockford. Hartman also has international experience; he won a gold medal as a member of Team USA at the 2013 World Juniors. Last August, ESPN ranked Hartman as the 66th best NHL prospect.
The Hawks are hoping that Hartman, who plays a gritty, versatile game, will develop into a top-6 version of Andrew Shaw. If Hartman makes the squad out of camp, Coach Q would probably to fit into the 3rd of 4th line to start the year.

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

Blackhawks in Penny-Pinching Mode


NOTE: This form is to apply for a writing position with our website. We need writers who can write about a specific team, such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, or even the new Las Vegas franchise. If you’re at all interested in writing with us, please fill out the form above. Thanks!

 

By Bobby Bauders

Senior Writer/Editor

 

The Chicago Blackhawks are once again in penny-pinching mode for the upcoming season. General Manager Stan Bowman has done a truly magical job  keeping Chicago under the cap ceiling, and will once again face challenges ahead.

 

This penny-pinching is obvious when he traded Andrew Shaw to the Montreal Canadiens and the subsequent signing of Jordin Tootoo. Many saw Tootoo’s signing as Bowman’s cheaper replacement for Shaw. Well, it’s cheaper for sure. Tootoo signed 1 year deal worth $0.750M a year. And his stats reflect the cheaper option mentality.

 

Last year, the 33-year-old scored 4 goals and 9 points in 66 games with the New Jersey Devils compared to Shaw’s 14 goals and 34 points in 78 games with the Hawks.

 

Shaw was an excellent bottom-six forward who was very in-your-face. That’s what Tootoo’s role will be with Chicago. They just need him to be an enforcer, something Tootoo will have no problem doing.

 

After all, Chicago is in no need of any extra scoring; led by Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Artemi Panarin. Panarin is what introduces the source of this money saving.

 

After Panarin’s  phenomenal season, he’s going to want to get paid when his contract is up. When is his contract up? Next offseason. Panarin becomes an RFA on July 1, 2017, and the Blackhawks could struggle to pay him.

 

Chicago currently has about $2M in cap space. Brian Campbell is expected to retire which will open up $1.5M in space, but depending on how much Panarin demands, that may not be enough. Bowman also needs to think about Richard Panik who also becomes an RFA next July.

 

Chicago will need to start thinking of Marian Hossa’s contract. The 37-year-old has 5 years left on his $5.275M AAV deal. Hossa certainly isn’t putting up the stats for a $5M  salary. Last season, he only posted 13 goals. The days of his 30 goal seasons are past him. Moving Hossa’s contract becomes tricky with his No Movement Clause. Unless he waives it, the Hawks are stuck with his contract for the next 5 years unless they buy him out in a couple year. They’ll need to find a replacement obviously, but in the grand scheme of things, a buyout may turn out to be the best option with the salary cap.

ANNOUNCEMENT: We Have Affiliated Accounts


By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

Today, Hockey Trade Central is proud to announce that we are starting affiliation accounts! Our goal is to make sure that each team gets all their news reported to all their great fans. We will be making an account for all NHL teams (one for Vegas when they announce their name). For now, we’re starting with 3, but all 31 will be added soon.

The Accounts:
Yotes Trade Central (Coyotes)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yotestradecen

Pens Trade Central (Penguins)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/penstradecen

Hawks Trade Central (Blackhawks)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hawkstradecen

The reason we decided to make affiliations is that there are many fans who simply don’t care about other teams. They’d much rather just see news on their team. This is the perfect opportunity to do so!

Currently, we are looking for Admins/Writers for these pages. If you’re interested, please fill out the form above and we’ll get back to you! You can select any of the 31 NHL teams. Just write down which team you’d like, and we’ll discuss it.

Thank you so much for your support! We look forward to adding more affiliations in the future.