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Fantasy Spin: Category coverage puts Hanzal on map

by Pete Jensen /

Injuries are piling up around the League, with Rick Nash (head), Vincent Lecavalier (lower body) and Scott Hartnell (upper body) all on injured reserve in Yahoo Fantasy leagues and James Neal (upper body) set to join them on that list.

So where can fantasy owners find someone playing top-line minutes to fill a void left by one of the aforementioned forwards?

Based on Martin Hanzal's points, shots, hits and PIMs totals thus far, he could serve as a well-rounded injury replacement in deep fantasy leagues. (Photo: Getty Images)

Look no further than Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes. His multi-category performance early on this season puts him in very small company.

Hanzal and Evander Kane are the only players with 20-plus hits, a double-digit shot total and five or more points in 2013-14. With five minor penalties and a fighting major (15 PIMs) through six games, his category coverage has been off the charts -- making him an emerging asset to fantasy owners.

This 26-year-old is center-eligible in Yahoo leagues and has spent much of his ice time, including power-play minutes, with Mike Ribeiro and Radim Vrbata. Hanzal has kicked off the new season with points in four of six games, winning 52.6 percent of faceoffs and logging 20-plus minutes in each of his past three games.

How Hanzal is only owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment with so many quality offensive weapons around him is a question worth asking.

The bottom line is if Hanzal was more of a household name, he would have been scooped up in many more leagues by now. He has been under the radar for years despite flashes of points-PIMs-shots production. In 2009-10, he posted 33 points, 104 PIMs and 147 SOG -- numbers that most fantasy owners in deep leagues would sign up for this season in a hurry.

So take advantage of one of the many undervalued talents in Phoenix and consider picking up Hanzal before others catch onto his strong all-around play. The Coyotes have won three in a row and look for more Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators.


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