I’ve been writing all summer that the Coyotes are hoping to re-sign restricted free-agent center Martin Hanzal
to a new contract before the veterans report to training camp on Sept. 17.
| Dave Vest |
While a deal still hasn’t been reached, I can report that both sides remain optimistic that one is coming soon.
On Thursday, I had the chance to ask Hanzal, who recently flew back to Arizona from the Czech Republic, for an update on the ongoing salary negotiations.
“That’s a good question for my agent because it’s his job to make a good deal for me, but I’m excited,” Hanzal said after skating informally with many of his Coyotes teammates from last season at the Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale. “I want to be a Coyote and I want to stay here. That’s my priority. Hopefully it’s going to get done soon.”
I then asked Hanzal about the validity of a recent “tweet” by a Russian hockey journalist that reported he “might” sign with a KHL team in Russia instead of the Coyotes.
His response: “I want to be here. That’s why I am here now. I want to play here. Hopefully we’ll get this contract done soon. If we don’t, I guess we’ve got to start looking (for a contract) in Europe because the season is starting in Europe.”
Hanzal, 23, is coming off a third solid season with the Coyotes, for whom he’s played 227 regular-season games and notched 30 goals and 69 assists. He had three assists in the seven-game playoff series against Detroit last April.
Hanzal, who is sporting a buzz haircut these days, said some of his teammates have been teasing him about still being unsigned. But, he said, they understand it’s a business and that he wants to return to the Coyotes so they can all build on what they accomplished in 2009-10.
Stay tuned....Reach Dave Vest at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @davest4yotes.