Playing in the desert isn’t the ideal situation if you want to make a name for yourself. It’s a small market and most of the attention that they do grab is for their financial woes. But there are quite a few players on the Phoenix Coyotes deserving of some recognition. One of those players is center Martin Hanzal.
After an extremely slow start to the season, the Coyotes have started to find their footing recently, in the season following up their first ever playoff series win. Last year’s postseason saw them not only win one series, but ride that momentum all the way to an appearance in the Western Conference Finals.
Part of the reason that they managed to get there was the play of Hanzal. He had a career year, with 34 points on the season and finishing at a plus-12, which was by far the best he has ever posted. His 239 hits were also the among the most in the game, as far as forwards are concerned.
This season, he has built on that. He has caught fire recently, with 10 points in 12 games, including seven goals. After that slow start to the season, the Coyotes have only lost twice in regulation when Martin Hanzal is in the lineup. Part of the reason for that is the fact that he is so difficult for opposing teams to match up with.
What he lacks in offensive skill, he more than makes up in size and the physical game. Not many teams have the personnel to match up with a center that is 6’5″, 220. He’s a nightmare around the net, which is where he tallies most of his goals.
Hanzal is part of a nice little core that is coming together in Phoenix. Joining the likes of Mikkel Boedker and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, this club quietly has some young talent that is going to be deadly for quite a few years, whether it’s in Phoenix or another city.