If the Phoenix Coyotes are planning on grabbing one of the final couple of playoff spots that are still technically up for grabs in the Western Conference, they’re going to need contributions from up and down their lineup. They’ll need players to continue steady paces, while some others will need to pick up their level of play down the stretch.
One player who is going to be absolutely key down the stretch for the Coyotes is Martin Hanzal. While Hanzal is enjoying another solid season in the middle for the Coyotes, a little more production from the forward would probably benefit them. He’s a nightmare matchup for any opposing team.
Hanzal’s size in the middle obviously makes him a tremendous asset. He plays as physical as any forward in the game and he’s a tough out in the faceoff circle. His physical prowess has been on display particularly of late, with his huge body check on Taylor Hall earlier this week providing evidence of that.
Though he’s never been a big points guy, a bit more production on the stat sheet from Hanzal would make life much easier for the Coyotes. He has 20 points on the year, which isn’t a bad total at all considering his career averages. But the opportunities are there for Hanzal to put up more points.
Hanzal plays the second most minutes among forwards on the team, trailing only Mikkel Boedker. He’s second in power play time as well, among forwards, with Radim Vrbata the only forward seeing more time with the man advantage than Hanzal. So the opportunities are there for him.
Even if he’s not scoring, Hanzal can make an impact in many other ways, particularly on the physical side. But the Coyotes would definitely like to see him playing at a high level regardless, as Martin Hanzal playing at his best is the type of player that almost nobody wants to play against.