The Arizona Coyotes have had a long history of interesting draft selections, with some of their more recent picks looking to have bright futures in the organization.
The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for every first-round pick the organization has made since relocating to the desert in the mid-1990s, with many selected post-lockout until recently having been large head-scratchers in hindsight.
With no hockey to watch at present, we are introducing a new series to keep us occupied in the form of Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes redrafts, specifically from 2005 until 2015.
The premise of this series is the travel back in time with the knowledge we now have of how players panned out in the NHL and give the Coyotes that knowledge, so that some of their picks could turn out for the better.
The assumption here is that every pick prior to each Coyotes first-round selection remains the same, with only the Coyotes GM at the time being given this power of foresight.
With that in mind, we get our series started with the very first draft after the full season lockout in 2005.
Original Pick: Martin Hanzal
The first pick the Coyotes made after the NHL missed an entire season of action, came with the 17th overall selection in 2005.
With this pick, General Manager Mike Barnett selected gigantic Czech center Martin Hanzal, hoping to have landed the organization’s first-liner of the future.
The team in 05/06 was led by Mike Comrie and had a coaching staff including the great Wayne Gretzky, Rick Bowness, Grant Fuhr and future head coach of the organization Rick Tocchet.
Hanzal took a couple more years to develop his game before he made the step up to the NHL in 07/8, where he registered eight goals and 35 total points in 72 regular-season games.
Hanzal would spend nearly ten full seasons with the Coyotes organization, becoming one of the most physical and defensively reliable centremen in the league (50.9% CF, 47.1% offensive zone starts), totaling over 1400 hits while consistently having more takeaways than giveaways.
But he never quite became the true number one that people had hoped for back in 2005, and injuries would dog his time in Arizona. Other than the 09/10 season where he played 81 games, Hanzal would miss significant time due to back injuries and would typically be able to play in 63 odd games a season.
After 608 games in Phoenix (117 goals, 196 assists), Hanzal was traded to the Minnesota Wild in a large deal involving Ryan White and a 2017 fourth-round pick (Mason Shaw) going with him in exchange for Grayson Downing, 2017 first-round pick (Pierre-Oliver Joseph), 2018 second-round pick (Kevin Bahl) and a 2019 fourth-round pick (Eric Hjorth - Columbus).
A popular figure during his time in the desert, Hanzal was an outside consideration for the Selke Trophy between the ages of 22 and 24 and was a solid member of the organization before moving on and seeing injuries effectively end his career, having not played since December 2018.
Career Totals: 673GP, 127G-211A (338 total points)
Redraft Pick: Paul Stastny
While Hanzal was a great defensive forward, put in many big hits and was generally well-liked, if the Coyotes could go back to the 2005 draft then they would add a player that was more of an offensive threat and continues to contribute regularly in the league.
Paul Stastny was selected in the second round of the draft in 2005, 27 picks after the Coyotes chose Hanzal.
This pick turned out to be the kind of player the Coyotes could have used, with Stastny establishing himself as a reliable offensive threat for the Colorado Avalanche right out of the gate.
While also taking time to continue developing before entering the NHL, Stastny entered the league a full year before Hanzal and finished second in Calder Cup voting at the end of a rookie campaign that saw him score 28 goals and 78 total points in a full 82-game season.
During his tenure with the Avalanche, he was a regular 20+ goalscorer and was in the conversation for the Lady Byng and Selke Trophy at times, even finishing 23rd in the hunt for the Hart Trophy after a 79 point 2009/10 season.
Stastny’s time in Colorado came to an end after eight years, by which time he had reached 458 total points, including 160 goals.
Now aged 34, the Quebec native is still contributing around 40 points per season for the Vegas Golden Knights, having had spells with the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.
Career Totals: 945GP, 250G-476A (726 total points)
If the Coyotes could go back to 2005 and make a change or two, Stastny would surely be the name they call in the first-round over Hanzal.
During his entire NHL career, Hanzal reached 20 goals in a single on just one occasion - during the season when he was traded to the Wild.
He never scored 20 goals for a single team in a campaign, whereas Stastny did so six times throughout his career, all coming during his first eight years. The Canadian also had a slightly higher success rate in the faceoff circle, with 54% of draws won compared to Hanzal’s 52.1%
His offensive prowess would have been a welcome addition to the Coyotes and may have had a positive impact on the team’s run to the Western Conference Finals.
Both players had long careers in the NHL and were great servants to the teams they were on, but in hindsight, the Coyotes should’ve taken the more offensively minded Stastny 17th overall.