Spending a decade with a single team is rare in professional sports. Former Coyotes center Martin Hanzal was one of those rarities before being traded to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
The announcement came shortly before the puck drop of the Coyotes’ game against the Buffalo Sabres. Along with Hanzal, the Coyotes traded winger Ryan White and a 2017 fourth-round draft pick to the Wild. In return, Arizona got a 2017 first-round draft pick, a 2018 second-round pick, and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2019 as well as minor-leaguer Grayson Downing.
“Minnesota was a unique team to deal with, they have a great team that they’re trying to win a Cup with, they don’t want to take anyone off their roster,” Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said.
Chayka, in his first year as GM, said the trade dealing was a “miserable feeling,” but the move was one he felt was necessary in order to potentially avoid being that position again.
For ten memorable seasons, thank you. We'll surely miss you and wish you the best Marty. pic.twitter.com/b81Wc5wr0g
— #Yotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 27, 2017
“My decision was that this was the best value for our organization now and into the future,” Chayka said. “It’s where we’re at right now with our team, with our group, we felt that it was prudent to continue to build and find future assets that can turn into good young players that can grow with this group of players we’ve got.”
The void at the center position now is one that Chayka said he plans to fill with those young players.
“With or without Marty, that’s a position we need to continue to address,” Chayka said. “I think if you look at teams that have had success with addressing that position, the very, very vast majority of them, draft and develop these players, so that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Prospects Clayton Keller and Dylan Strome as well as Coyotes’ center Christian Dvorak, are all guys Chayka expects to continue to develop and eventually make an impact at the center position.
“It’s no secret. You gotta build through the middle,” Chayka said. “We need to get better in that area. But again, it’s the trade deadline. There’s not many guys available. We’re not really in a position to go sell future assets to try and get those players so we made the right decision for our organization right now.”
Coyotes’ captain Shane Doan shared his frustration with Hanzal’s trade during the first intermission of Sunday night’s game against the Sabres with Fox Sports Arizona.
Shane Doan: "It's hard to understand" Coyotes trade of Martin Hanzal and Ryan White to the Wild. pic.twitter.com/CeKoFrRItm
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) February 27, 2017
“It’s really hard,” Doan said. “Obviously, Marty’s a huge part of our team and somebody you get to play with for 10 years you appreciate and you understand how valuable and how you can’t really replace him. And the fact that we just continue to seem to go, I don’t know. It’s hard. It’s hard to understand exactly. I mean, you understand people’s hands are tied and you just don’t get it.”
Chayka said he empathizes with Doan’s frustration, but reiterated that he stands by his decision.
“I did the right thing for the organization to move a player for future assets and move forward to this summer,” he said. “I think Shane’s response is one of frustration that I share with him, but I think I did the right thing and that’s all I can do.”