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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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

Blackhawks in Penny-Pinching Mode


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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.

Atlantic 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

 

Boston Bruins:

1st Round Picks: 2

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 7

The Bruins have an aging defense. I expect them to try and replinish that in this year’s draft. Especially since Zdeno Chara’s days are likely numbered. Possibly Charles McAvoy or Jakob Chychrun if he’s available.

 

Buffalo Sabres:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 11

Buffalo needs to draft a defenseman here. They still don’t have their go-to number one defender. Expect them to take Mkhail Sergachev. He’ll fit in well with Buffalo’s system.

 

Detroit Red Wings:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 6

With the departure of Pavel Datsyuk, it’s clear Detroit needs to invest in their offense. Expect them to look at Kieffer Bellows, Max Jones, and Luke Kunin.

 

Florida Panthers:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 5

Florida has an aging forward core featuring the likes of Jaromir Jagr and Jussi Jokinen. They’ll likely draft a forward in this draft, maybe Alex DeBrincat or Brett Howden. Or maybe Rasmus Asplund or German Rubstov.

 

Montreal Canadiens:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 2

Total Draft Picks: 7

The Canadiens want a high-end scoring forward. Someone who handles the puck nicely, has good vision, and scores with ease. That player would be Pierre-Luc Dubois. He’ll unfortunately be gone before Montreal picks at 9, so they’ll have to trade up.

 

If they stay at 9, they’ll likely choose Clayton Keller or Logan Brown.

 

Ottawa Senators:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 1

Total Draft Picks: 6

Ottawa has a fairly old team all around. They could use a scoring winger or a shut down defenseman in this draft.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 2

Total Draft Picks: 9

I see Tampa going after defense this year. Their offense is good for a few years, and they likely want to strengthen their blue line’s future.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs:

1st Round Picks: 1

2nd Round Picks: 2

Total Draft Picks: 11

The Toronto Maple Leafs need Auston Matthews. Plain and simple. They’re going to select him, that’s obvious. In about 3 years, he will turn Maple Leaf hockey around. The Leafs will finally get their number one center.

 

They also have some holes on defense that they are expected to fill up with trades. Not to mention they’re actually quite cap-squeezed.

 

Steven Stamkos Free Agency Destinations


By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

Steven Stamkos is probably done in Tampa Bay, unless General Manager Steve Yzerman can somehow get a deal worked out and still be able to re-sign his massive load of impending free agents next offseason. More info on that here: Where’s Steven Stamkos going?

Given the likelihood of Stamkos hitting the open market, let’s explore where the 26-year-old center may end up. We’ll look at the front runners, and then some surprising dark horses.

 

Front Runners:

Toronto Maple Leafs:

First of all, Stamkos will not sign with the Leafs. Sorry Toronto fans, but you’re getting your future number 1 center in Auston Matthews. If Stamkos hits the open market he’s going to be the most sought after free agent in recent memory, including teams who are MUCH closer to the Stanley Cup than Toronto. The Maple Leafs are rebuilding, they’re not in win-now mode, and won’t be for a few years. Stay patient Leafs fans, your time will be here soon. Now the Maple Leafs would be able to offer Stamkos a very lucrative salary with the Phaneuf cap dump, but I just can’t see Stamkos signing with someone who is as far away from the Stanley Cup as Toronto is. As wonderful of a fairy tale story this may be to bring hometown boy Stamkos back to Toronto, I just don’t see it happening.

 

Detroit Red Wings:

With the departure of Pavel Datsyuk back to Russia, the Detroit Red Wings are going to need a first line center. The Red Wings are significantly closer to the Cup than the Maple Leafs are, being that they were just in the playoffs whereas Toronto posted the worst record in the league. Still, with the cap situation, it may be difficult to get a deal worked out with Stamkos. Detroit is still liable for Datsyuk’s contract until next year, which carries a $7.5 million cap hit. Unless the Wings find a way to trade Datsyuk’s contract, which will cost them valuable draft picks/prospects, Stamkos will not be coming to Detroit. Not to mention that Stamkos is still fairly young, and the Red Wings are showing many signs of slowing down, and may not be in contention much longer.

 

Montreal Canadiens:

The Montreal Canadiens have emerged as another front runner. I can’t really imagine why as they’d be in cap hell. Before re-signings that would occur, they currently have about $7 million in cap space. That in itself isn’t even enough to sign Stamkos as he’ll require at least $8.5 million. Not to mention that Alex Galchenyuk is a RFA next season and will want more than what he’s currently making at $2.8 million. The only way if the Habs sign Stamkos is if they trade either Andrei Markov or Jeff Petry or both, but I don’t see many GMs knocking down Marc Bergevin’s door in order to acquire either of them.

 

Buffalo Sabres:

This is another interesting option. Stamkos should be interested in Buffalo because of their ability to pay him and their bright future, but I don’t see why Buffalo would be inrested in Stamkos, quite frankly because of their bright future. They have offensive prospect after offensive prospect in the Sabres system. Buffalo should stay patient with their current crop, which will bring them a lot of success in the future. Overloading on one position hardly ever works in the long run, as it really strains a team’s cap situation. I don’t see the point in this franchise log jamming the center position with Ryan O’Reilly, Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, and Zemgus Girgensons. Yes some of those players can play on the wing, including Stamkos if you think about it with his sniping ability, but Buffalo already has plenty of forward prospects. But you know what, if Tim Murray has a plan for how Buffalo will deal with this log jam, I say go for it. It’s not easy to not offer Stamkos a contract when he’s there for anyone’s taking. Should they sign Stamkos, Buffalo will have to decide on their number 1 and number 2 centers, and then either trade the rest or move them to the wing.

 

Dark Horses:

Arizona Coyotes:

I know I said that Stamkos won’t want  to sign with Toronto because of their distance from the Cup, and the Coyotes may look just as far away, but they’re not. Without Stamkos, I predicted they’d be in the playoffs in 3 years. Not saying they’re winning the Cup in 3 years, but they’ll be a serious threat. Adding Stamkos to the mix? Wow. The Coyotes recently hired a new GM who will be eager to place his stamp on the team. What better way to do that than signing Steven Stamkos? I’m not saying he’ll sign with the Coyotes, it’ll be a tough sale given their shaky arena situation, but they do have a selling point in their prospect pool. And they have the cap room, around $30 million currently available. GM John Chayka should at the very least contact the Stamkos camp and gauge their interest when talks can start on June 25th.

 

Boston Bruins:

Now the Bruins are quite loaded at the center position with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, but Stamkos will likely listen to offers. That’s why I’m including them: they’re one of the only decent teams with anywhere near enough cap room. They currently sit at around $18.5 million, but have to think about re-signing Loui Eriksson. But that’s a whole different story, as Boston and the Eriksson camp have been talking for months reports say that there hasn’t been any progress. So if Boston decides to let Eriksson walk or trade his rights, hello Stamkos?

 

 

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Tampa Bay is the definition of dark horse in this situation. I don’t see how they can re-sign Stamkos, it’s just not realistic given next year’s cap situation. Steve Yzerman would have to work a miracle. The reason I’m listing them is because Tampa is still trying to figure out how they can re-sign him, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point.

Possible Trade: Edmonton trades Number 4 Overall to Montreal


By Bobby Bauders
Senior Writer/Editor

It’s no secret that the Oilers are shopping the 4th overall pick. I believe that they will either want to pick Jakob Chychrun, Olli Juolevi, or Mikhail Sergachev. Montreal on the other hand wants to draft Pierre-Luc Dubois. Edmonton can have their pick at any one of the three defenders at number 4 overall, but they believe that they can move down and still have one available.

Should they move down to number 9, which is the pick Montreal owns and would likely be the foundation of any trade with Edmonton, they would probably only have one choice available. Arizona and Buffalo have the number 7 and 8 picks respectively, and are expected to select defensemen.

Montreal would not be able to select Dubois at 9, as Vancouver is expected to select him. If Vancouver doesn’t select him I fully expect Dubois to be chosen by Calgary.

Montreal has needed a playmaking scoring forward for quite some time. With Dubois they could finally have him.

As for Edmonton, they need a good defensive prospect, as they have basically none other than Griffin Reinhart. At 9, they probably won’t be getting their first choice, or second choice, but Chychrun, Juolevi, and Sergachev are all great D-men with great futures, so they should be able to settle.

Obviously those two assets wouldn’t be the only two involved. Maybe one of Montreal’s second round picks and a prospect? Depending on the value of the whatever prospect Montreal would be willing to give up that second round pick could change into a third round pick.

In the end, I think both teams would benefit from this trade. Edmonton can move down and still pick a quality defenseman while picking up some assets, and Montreal would get a puck-smart playmaking forward in Dubois.

Is Kessel getting ready to Betray Ontario?


By Bobby Bauders

 

Phil Kessel is leaving Toronto. That’s a given. Rather it’s during the draft, during the offseason, in December, or at the deadline. He will not be a of the Toronto Maple Leafs by the next time a new Stanley Cup Champion is crowned. The question still stands: Where does he go? The Montreal Canadiens would be an interesting, and surprisingly effective destination.

 

Montreal gets:

Phil Kessel – Winger

2016 3rd Round Draft Pick – Toronto

 

Toronto gets:

David Desharnais – Center

2015 1st Round Draft Pick – Montreal

2015 6th Round Draft Pick – Montreal

2016 2nd Round Draft Pick – Montreal

 

This seems like a crazy blockbuster trade. It is. It works for both sides though. Montreal gets a another scorer to its offense. Toronto gets draft picks to rebuild. The Habs also get to dump salary in Desharnais. This trade makes a lot of sense to me, which is why I give it a 80% chance of both sides accepting it.