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NHL Trade Deadline 2017: Players, fans react to Martin Hanzal trade

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A lot of emotions swirling around last night’s big trade.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Edmonton Oilers Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes made one of (if not the biggest) moves of the Trade Deadline by sending Martin Hanzal, Ryan White, and a 2017 fourth rounder to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2017 first rounder, a 2018 second rounder, a 2019 conditional fourth rounder that could convert into as high as a second (Hanzal must play >50% of Minnesota’s playoff games and the Wild must advance at least one round for the pick to become a third, and two rounds to become a second), and minor league forward Grayson Downing.

It was a big move, and reaction around the hockey world largely felt the Coyotes got the better end of the deal.

Our (admittedly non-scientific) polling suggests that in general, the hockey world thinks this was a good-to-great trade for the Coyotes.

Of course, draft picks mean little if the Coyotes aren’t able to turn them into quality NHL players, so the jury will be out for a quite a while. But given Hanzal’s pending UFA status, it’s a nice return for the 31 year-old.

Reaction was not universally positive though. Coyotes captain Shane Doan’s feelings were on full display during the first intermission last night.

That Hanzal would get dealt at the Trade Deadline should not have been a massive surprise. But Doan’s feelings are understandable given how the 2012 team that made its way to the Western Conference Finals was thoroughly dismantled right before Doan’s eyes over the last few year. It undoubtedly is a bitter pill to swallow.

Other fans were less than thrilled too.

Therein lies the rub; almost every modern NHL team becomes competitive only through several seasons of building; the Blackhawks were absolutely dreadful before Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews arrived, while the Kings acquired Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, and Drew Doughty via the draft as well. And let’s not even begin to talk about the Edmonton Oilers.

But the list of high-quality prospects not on the Coyotes currently includes Dylan Strome, Clayton Keller, Christian Fischer, Nick Merkley, Kyle Wood, and Adin Hill. That list will in all likelihood include a player like Nico Hischier, Gabriel Vilardi, Timothy Liljegren, or Nolan Patrick.

Rebuilding is fine, maybe even required, to be a successful NHL team nowadays. The past three seasons for the Coyotes have stung. A lot. Maybe we all should have had clearer eyes about where this team was in October.

But Arizona has come out of these years with a bevy of talented young players. Building has to be done with a purpose. The Coyotes have laid their foundation. It’s time to get the work on building the rest of the house.