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Chayka Likes Assets Coyotes Received from Wild

Arizona acquired three draft picks and AHL player in deal

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE -- The Coyotes acquired three draft picks and a prospect from the Minnesota Wild on Sunday in exchange for center Martin Hanzal, winger Ryan White and a fourth-round draft pick in 2017.

Hanzal, who played 608 regular-season games and 23 playoff games for the Coyotes, is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. So is White, who was in his first year with Arizona.

"It's where we're at right now with our team, with our organization," Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said. "We felt 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."

Because of Hanzal's lengthy tenure with the team, it was a trade the first-year general manager did not take lightly.

"It's a miserable feeling to be a seller at the (trade) deadline and it's something that I never want to do again as a manager," Chayka said. "... This is a deal that I've worked on tirelessly ... Minnesota clearly stepped up ... I can assure you this was the top price in the market for Martin Hanzal."

The trade brings to Arizona a first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, a second-round pick in 2018 and a conditional pick in 2019, as well as forward Grayson Downing, a 24-year-old center who has spent the past three seasons playing in the American Hockey League. Chayka said Downing would report to Arizona's AHL team in Tucson. 

Regarding the conditional pick in 2019, if Minnesota wins one playoff series this season, the pick would be a third-round pick, and if Minnesota wins two series, the pick would be a second-round pick. Also, the deal stipulates that Hanzal must play at least 50 percent of the Wild's playoff games in each round. 

Hanzal, whom the Coyotes drafted 17th overall in 2005, notched 16 goals for Arizona this season, and 117 total. And only Shane Doan and Zbynek Michalek have played more games for the Coyotes than Hanzal since the team moved to Arizona from Winnipeg in 1996.

Radim Vrbata said he will miss Hanzal, with whom he's played for seven seasons. They are both Czech natives and good pals. 

"It hits you, even though you know it's coming," Vrbata said of the trade. "... I'm going to miss him, hockey-wise and off the ice."

Head Coach Dave Tippett has coached Hanzal since 2009. He, too, was sorry to see him leave.

"He's an unrestricted free agent, simple as that," Tippett said. "He's an unrestricted free agent without a contract at the end (of the season). The position that our group is in right now - the building process we're going through - these are just steps that you have to take. Marty Hanzal has been a big part of this organization for a long time. He's a very good person, obviously a very good player. But there are steps that we're taking and we have to do to move forward."

The NHL trade deadline is Wednesday at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Chayka said the Coyotes may not be done dealing.

"I'm open to adding, subtracting, lateral moves, whatever, to make our team better and continue to grow," Chayka said.

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