Well this was a shocker on a Sunday night.
The Wild are all in. I wrote in my deadline preview that I thought Minnesota should try to acquire some depth forwards or defenseman as they are rolling right now and should not shake things up. Well I was wrong as they went out and got the top rental on the market in Martin Hanzal. Hanzal was the first line center for the Arizona coyotes who are last in the league in just about everything. They are in complete rebuild mode and it wasn’t a question of if they were going to move Hanzal but a question of when. Hanzal will fit perfectly into the cap structure and from an outside perspective the playing style of the team.
Hanzal is a very good defensive centerman who can win faceoffs and will be great for the Wild in the playoffs. Now the Wild can roll even deeper and take away the top line center for teams like the Ducks and Blackhawks and they can shut down the second line center as well. Teams like the Blackhawks used to roll all over the Wild because of their depth, now the Wild have as much depth up front as the Hawks do, and more on the back-end. If these two teams meet in the playoffs watch out.
Why are the Wild in win now mode? The team is cap constrained and will be losing a good defenseman this summer (unless a trade is made). They need to give Granlund and Niederreiter raises which wont be cheap, especially Granlund’s. As good as Parise and Suter are, combined they account for $17MM of cap space.
Hanzal is a very expensive rental player and if the Wild don’t make it to the cup or win the cup then this deal isn’t worth it, in my opinion. They are really deep at the prospect level so maybe they don’t need those picks, per se, but in today’s salary cap NHL it may come back to bite them.
Arizona: Great trade for Arizona. They gave up someone who wasn’t going to resign for them to get even more assets.
2017 first round pick
2018 second-round pick
C Grayson Downing
2019 conditional fourth-round pick. The conditions on the 2019 pick: If Wild advance out of first round, it becomes a third. If Wild advance to Western Conference finals, it becomes a second. Hanzal has to play 50 percent of the playoff games for the conditions to kick in
Arizona is going to be huge Wild fans as Hanzal will easily meet that 50% of the playoff games provision.
Downing is a young center-man who finished the 2015-2016 really well with 40 points in 56 games. He was an undrafted forward but has some talent. Here is a good write-up on his projections, basically he can play in the NHL if he gets stronger and faster.