Earlier today Coyotes Insider Craig Morgan wrote about Martin Hanzal retiring from the NHL. I strongly encourage you to read his post if you haven’t already which features tons of quotes from former Coyotes.
The Coyotes drafted Martin Hanzal in the first round of the 2005 draft 17th overall. After two seasons, one in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers and one with the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels, he made his debut with the then-Phoenix Coyotes in the 2007-08 season.
Hanzal made his debut with the Coyotes during the 2007-08 season and would stay with the team until the team traded him during the 2016-17 season. He would serve as an alternate captain from 2011 onwards.
Martin Hanzal’s time with the Coyotes was marred by injuries. In 2009-10 he played in a career-high 81 games, one of only three seasons with the Coyotes’ where he played in over 70 games. When he was healthy, he was a big piece of the Coyotes’ top line and was often paired with his fellow Czech native Radim Vrbata.
The Coyotes’ traded Hanzal during the 2016-17 season to the Minnesota Wild as a part of the Coyotes’ rebuild. After twenty games with the Wild, he would sign with the Dallas Stars and was limited to 45 games over two seasons.
It is hard not to wonder how things would have been different if Hanzal wasn’t dealing with constant back injuries. He was defensively solid, was able to generate offense, and was able to play on both the power play and penalty kill. The Coyotes’ are still searching for a top-line center, an issue that a healthy Hanzal may have solved.