Hanzal in Distress? Habs & Coyotes Talking Trade

Martin-Hanzal_Hanzal-In-Distress

News broke Wednesday evening via Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts, that the Canadiens and Phoenix Coyotes have been in talks regarding the potential trade of upcoming UFA Martin Hanzal to the Habs. The asking price? According to Friedman, the Coyotes were asking for former first round draft pick Michael McCarron, a future first round and a conditional draft pick (depending how deep the Habs go in the playoffs). There is no doubt that Hanzal’s 6’6 frame will bring much needed size and depth down the middle for the Canadiens, who for years have been lacking size at center. However, that is one hefty price to pay for a often injured player and one that could be gone via Free Agency in the summer.

We’ve been hearing about high prices for rentals. Word is Arizona’s initial ask from Montreal for Martin Hanzal was Michael McCarron and two draft picks — one a first-rounder, the other conditional. I look at it this way: You never know until you ask. But it also tells you why Hanzal is not a Canadien. We’ll see if both teams circle back. – Elliotte Friedman

Drafted 17th overall in the same year as Carey Price, Hanzal’s career high consisted only of 41 points over 64 games in 2015-16. Hanzal won’t knock your socks off with his skills set. But what he brings, and what Marc Bergevin would be interested in, is the physical presence and strong defensive play he would bring to the Habs. He is basically the type of player Bergevin and the Canadiens hope Michael McCarron will one day reach. The turnoff about Hanzal is that he is oft injured, missing 43 games last season, 18 the year before and 45 games in 2014-15. To put it bluntly, if you remove Hanzel’s first 3 season in the NHL, he has yet to play over 65 games in his last 7 seasons.

Season GP G A PTS +/-
2007 – 08 72 8 27 35 -7
2008 – 09 74 11 20 31 -4
2009 – 10 81 11 22 33 0
2010 – 11 61 16 10 26 4
2011 – 12 64 8 26 34 12
2012 – 13 39 11 12 23 2
2013 – 14 65 15 25 40 -9
2014 – 15 37 8 16 24 -1
2015 – 16 64 13 28 41 -5
2016 – 17 39 10 8 18 -15

My problem with this trade is that the Habs are sacrificing too much of the future for a player that might only suit up for them in 20 to 25 games. I’m not going to sit here and overestimate McCarron’s game and potential, as to date he has shown only to be a mediocre bottom 6 forward. The thing is McCarron is only 21 years old, the same age Phillip Danault was last year before breaking out this season. The future is still bright for McCarron and there is potential there to one day be a middle 6 forward. Then you throw in a first round, yes many have projected this draft year to be average at best, however it is still a first round draft pick. There is still that potential to draft the next David Pastrnak (25th in 2014) or Tanner Pearson (30th in 2012).

Yes I understand that to get you must also give. But I just feel the current asking price for Hanzel is too much and could be disastrous for the Habs in the future. The Habs are definitely a top team in the East, but I just don’t see Martin Hanzel as the guy that would push them over the top and get pass Washington or Pittsburgh. If Hanzel had a year or two remaining in his contract, I would ponder it. If it was Hanzel for a first round and a conditional pick, I would probably take it. Bergevin has in the past been able to wheel and deal for the likes of Thomas Vanek for Sebastian Colberg and a 2nd round. There is no doubt in my mind that he could work his magic once more and grab Hanzel or another top 6 talent for far less than what the Coyotes are initially asking for.

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