GLENDALE – Coyotes center Martin Hanzal is slated to have back surgery and likely will be sidelined for the rest of the season.
“Marty is going to have a procedure on his back next week, which will put him week-to-week and in all likelihood finish his season,” General Manager Don Maloney said Thursday. “The good thing is he’ll have time to recover and we’ll get him back as soon as possible. The likelihood of him returning this season is remote but we do anticipate a full recovery.”
Hanzal, an alternate captain who has played only 37 of the team’s 55 games this season, has been sidelined since Jan. 29. Despite playing with the nagging injury, he ranks tied for sixth on the team with eight goals and tied for seventh with 24 points.
“It's been something he's had for the last two or three seasons and it has gotten progressively worse,” Maloney said. “We can't keep doing this. We have to find a solution. He's still a young man. We've got to get him better. We need to get him where he's healthy and can help us win.”
The Coyotes selected Hanzal, 27, with the 17th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft. He has notched 88 goals and 158 assists in 493 NHL games, all with the Coyotes.
Hanzal also had back surgery after his rookie season (2007-08). He played in 74 of 82 games the following season.
• Meanwhile, center Joe Vitale practiced with teammates on Thursday and could be back in the lineup this weekend. Vitale has missed the past eight games because of an upper-body injury.
• New forward Mark Arcobello skated with the team for the first time on Thursday after being claimed off waivers on Wednesday. Arcobello centered a line with former Edmonton Oilers teammate Sam Gagner and Lucas Lessio.
"I'm happy to go back to the center of the ice," said Arcobello, who played wing with Nashville and Pittsburgh this season. "Hopefully this works out. I want to find a home and contribute to a winning team."
• Forward Brandon McMillan, who played 72 games for the Coyotes over the past two seasons, was claimed off waivers by the Vancouver Canucks.
• Maloney said forward Viktor Tikhonov, who has been playing in the KHL, has expressed interest in returning to North America. The Coyotes selected Tikhonov with the 28th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft and hold his NHL rights until the end of June.
Tikhonov has spent the past four seasons with SKA Saint Petersburg. He has notched eight goals and 24 points through 45 games this season.