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.

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.

C Martin Hanzal (50% of salary retained)

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?

C Martin Hanzal

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.

C Martin Hanzal

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.


2016 Offseason Power Rankings

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Hockey Trade Central

Hockey Trade Central Twitter:


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

Minnesota Wild Free Agency Recap

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 Minnesota Wild, 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 Tim Freitag

Minnesota Wild Writer


Players added through Free Agency

C – Eric Staal – 31yrs – 781 Career Points

The Minnesota Wild’s big splash in free agency was to add Eric Staal, a two-way center with the proven ability to put the puck in the net. This was a very calculated risk for GM Chuck Fletcher, who has most certainly taken advantage of free agency in an attempt to bolster the roster over the last few years.
Unlike his previous forays into free agency, it seems that this time, Fletcher has attempted to augment the places he already has in place rather than hit a home run on a goal scoring winger. Free agents Martin Havlat and Thomas Vanek didn’t live up to their contracts with Minnesota. Havlat was traded for Dany Heatley and Thomas Vanek was bought out earlier this summer. Staal’s 3 year $10.5 million deal seems much more conservative when compared with Fletcher’s deals in the past.
Though Staal appears past his prime, in terms of scoring, he is still a useful player. His possession numbers were very good last year and he’s always been a strong faceoff center. Staal’s addition does more than just add a good player to a lineup which underperformed last year. It allows for Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle to move to the wing, where both of them are more effective. Granlund’s late season, playoff, and world championship surge was mostly due to a move to the wing. Coyle’s move to the wing will allow him to use his big frame to win puck battles along the boards and become a stronger net front presence. Coyle is also moved from the faceoff circle where he has always struggled.
The most important byproduct of Staal’s addition may be that it allowed Chuck Fletcher to keep his stable of young defensemen intact. The long rumored deal of (insert Wild defenseman) for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins never made sense. Nugent-Hopkins has not proven, to this point, that he is a number 1 or 2 center in the NHL. Besides that, he carries a $6M AAV through 2021. His acquisition could have hamstrung the franchise for years and likely would have resulted in the departure of Mikael Granlund or Nino Neiderreiter, who are both RFAs at the end of next season, and are likely due for big raises.

RW – Chris Stewart – 28yrs – 284 Career Points

In a slightly surprising move, Chuck Fletcher brought back Chris Stewart who was originally acquired by Minnesota at the trade deadline of the 2014-15 season for a 2nd round pick from the Buffalo Sabres. Stewart was good during the home stretch of the 2015 season, tallying 11 points in 20 games, but went silent in the playoffs.
Though Stewart’s acquisition raised some eyebrows among Wild faithful, it really is a low risk/high reward move for the Wild. Stewart has the ability to play in the top 9 and will allow for some competition among the forward group heading into the season to claim spots in the top 9. At $1.15M over 2 years, there really is no downside to this deal. (Thomas Vanek has a bigger cap hit over those 2 years)
Besides the competition and depth aspect of his signing, Chris Stewart’s signing seems like an attempt to shore up the locker room. There were rumblings last season that there was a divide in the room which was most noticeable as the Wild stumbled in the second half of the season. This is merely conjecture on my part as I’m not in the room, but things didn’t feel right as a fan watching the frustration on the players’ faces.

G – Alex Stalock – 28yrs – 2.37 career GAA – .911 career Save %

Alex Stalock was brought on board to provide depth for an always unpredictable goalie stable for the Wild. He’ll start the season in Iowa, barring anything unforeseen, but his addition will provide depth for a team that has rarely had depth in goal.
A little history… In recent years, Nicklas Backstrom was injured in warmups before game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoff against the Chicago Blackhawks. Josh Harding was diagnosed with MS and then broke his foot after allegedly kicking a wall after becoming angered by a teammate. That resulted in the Wild acquiring Ilya Bryzgalov to save the season and get to the playoffs that season.
Suffice it to say, but it’s “Humongous Big” for the Wild to enter a season with 3 goaltenders who can play in the NHL.


It would seem Chuck Fletcher and Brent Flahr are not yet done in free agency. The team still needs to sign RFAs Matt Dumba and Jordan Schroeder. Beyond that, the team will still have the flexibility to sign an NHL forward for the 4th line or make a move on a trade with a team that is too tight against the cap. With the relatively flat cap this season, it’s likely that there will be more than a few teams who need to unload a player they otherwise would have kept.
FA options for the Wild to add a forward include bringing back Matt Cullen, who was terrific in last season’s playoffs or someone like a Ryan Carter or Chris Porter.
Again, it would seem that Chuck Fletcher did a great job of bolstering the lineup with depth down the middle for the first time that I remember. This lineup looks more balanced than in years past and they’ll hopefully make a strong run into the playoffs under the leadership of Bruce Boudreau, who may actually be the best pickup Fletcher made this offseason.

We’ve Added 3 More Affiliates

By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

Hockey Trade Central has added 3 more affiliated accounts. Accounts for the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, and Minnesota Wild.

LA Trade Central (Kings):

Edmonton Trade Central (Oielrs):

Minnesota Trade Central (Wild):

We’re also looking for writers for all of our affiliations! Any experience is welcomed! If you’re interested, just fill out the form above. In the preferred team section, tell us what team you’d like to write for. You can select any of the 31 NHL teams, the Las Vegas club included.

Central Division Draft Day: Team Needs

By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor


We’ll have four team needs stories highlighting the draft needs of the teams in every division. Written on June 23rd, any trades that happened after this story was written will not be mentioned in this story, therefore some draft spots may be outdated.


Our Updated Mock Draft


Chicago Blackhawks:

1st Round Picks: 0

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 8

Chicago needs to clear some cap. Obviously the draft is about building your future, but Chicago’s cap is horrendous.


As for Chicago’s 50th pick, maybe Tim Gettinger or Markus Niemelainen will be available.


Colorado Avalanche:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 6

Colorado needs serious help on defense. But at Colorado’s place in the draft at 10th overall, they should be going after forwards.


In order to significantly address Colorado’s laurels on defense, it’ll likely come via trade or free agency.


As for the 10th pick, expect Colorado to look at Clayton Keller, Kieffer Bellows, or Logan Brown.


Dallas Stars:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 0

Total Draft Picks: 6

Dallas has needed defense for years and that stands today. Jim Nill has done an outstanding jobs assembling Dallas’ offense, but now they need defense.


Dallas currently sits at 25th overall and may be able to select Logan Stanley or Dennis Cholowski.


Goaltending is also going to be an issue soon, but with the goalie market about to heat up, they’ll probably address that via trades.


Minnesota Wild:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 0

Total Draft Picks: 4

Minnesota is absolutely loaded on defense. Expect them to look at offense.


Players available may be Luke Kunin, Max Jones, and Julien Gauthier.


Nashville Predators:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 8

Nashville is aging down the middle. They need to select a center who may be able to take the place of Mike Fisher in the future.


This draft is full of centers so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a player. Nashville needs to hope that Luke Kunin is available at 17.


St. Louis Blues:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 7

It’s known that Kevin Shattenkirk will be playing in a different city next season. It’s also known St. Louis wants to move up in the draft. Maybe they could figure out a way to trade Shattenkirk to Boston and get their 14th overall pick.


With that pick they could select anyone from Luke Kunin to Jake Bean to Tyson Jost. Blues could maybe use a scoring center in Kunin or Jost. Jost will be spending next year with the University of North Dakota, which would be fine with Blues because they have a good team now. Any selection will be for the future.


Winnipeg Jets:

1st Round Picks: 2

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 7

The only thing Winnipeg needs to worry about is selecting Patrik Laine. Seriously. People have been saying they’re considering Jesse Puljujarvi. All Kevin Cheveldayoff needs to worry about is saying “The Winnipeg Jets are proud to select Patrik Laine” at the podium.


Then they can worry about trading Jacob Trouba and re-signing Mark Scheifele.

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.