Looks like the Minnesota Wild are trying to set themselves up for a deep playoff run after acquiring Phoenix Coyotes’ Martin Hanzal and Ryan White in a trade, just days before the NHL trade deadline.
The Wild made a big splash in the trade market after giving up a first-round pick from this year’s draft, as well as a second-rounder next year and a conditional pick in 2019, for Coyotes’ assistant captain Hanzal, White and a fourth-round draft pick. While the trade was an obvious move to better the team and put them into position to win a Stanley Cup, there have been some who are skeptical of the trade.
Hanzal, the 6-foot-6, 226-pound center is in his ninth season in the league and spent his whole career up to this point in a Coyotes jersey. He was also having one of his best seasons of his career with the Coyotes up until he was traded, scoring 16 goals with 10 assists in 51 games played. In his two games with Minnesota he has two assists and seems to be fitting into the lineup quite nicely. Hanzal is in the last year of his contract, however, and is set to make a $3.1 million this year, according to capfriendly.com, but the Coyotes are required to pay 50 percent of his contract.
White, the 6-foot, 200-pound center has been the over-looked player that came in the trade from Phoenix along with the fourth-round pick from this year’s draft. In his two games with Minnesota, White has actually seen more production than Hanzal, scoring two goals and adding an assist to his record. Before being traded to Minnesota, White’s career wasn’t extremely successful. His best season was with the Coyotes in the 2015-2016 where he scored 11 goals with five assists in 73 games played.
Many see Hanzal as just a rental player for the rest of this year, being it’s the last year of his contract, but the Wild are making it blatantly clear to the teams in the NHL that they are gunning for the finals. Minnesota might have given up a lot of picks for potentially a one-year player, but the move solidified their lineup adding even more depth to their forward lines. Both players have seemed to gel well with the team and Bruce Boudreau’s system, each with at least a point in both of their games played so far with the Wild.
Minnesota has won their first two games since the acquisition of Hanzal and White. In their first game with the Wild, both played a very familiar opponent in the Los Angeles Kings. Minnesota ended up winning a tight game 5-4 and White accounted for two of the points with a goal and an assist in the game.
In their second game, they faced the Winnipeg Jets and the Wild won another close one that came down to a game-winning goal in the final minutes of the game. Minnesota ended up winning 6-5 with White scoring a goal and Hanzal getting two assists in the game. The Wild have looked good so far with the newly acquired duo and they seem to be fitting in nicely. This may have been the missing piece to the championship puzzle that Minnesota has been missing; fans will find out if the big decision by Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher will pay off come playoff time.