The Chicago Blackhawks were never serious players to acquire Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal this month, reports ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. The Coyotes traded Hanzal to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday for a big package headlined by a first-round pick.
Hanzal was considered one of the top players on the market before the March 1 trade deadline. The towering 6’6 center has put up a career-high 16 goals in 51 games, and with an expiring contract, the Coyotes were set to lose him at the end of the season anyway.
The Wild paid a huge price — 2017 first-round pick, 2018 second-round pick, and a 2019 conditional pick — to rent Hanzal (and Ryan White) through the end of the season. The move comes just after the Blackhawks gave up a third-round pick to a much less proven player in Tomas Jurco from the Red Wings.
There was speculation that the Blackhawks would go after Hanzal, who could solidify their depth chart up the middle, but LeBrun’s report indicates that was never the case. Instead, reports indicate the Wild, Predators, and Penguins were among the top suitors before Arizona and Minnesota finalized a deal.
GM Stan Bowman has said the Blackhawks wouldn’t be making any big moves before the trade deadline, so their lack of activity around Hanzal fits with that. When you see the price paid, and what the Ducks gave up to acquire Patrick Eaves from the Stars, staying away from the big names might be the smart move anyway.