USATSI_9894566_154158418_lowresThe Arizona Coyotes have traded Martin Hanzal, Ryan White and a fourth round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a first round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, a second round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, a conditional pick for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and Grayson Downing.

Hanzal finds himself in the final year of a five-year contract worth $15.5 million. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent come July 1.

“He’s an extremely tough player to play against,” Minnesota general manager Chuck Fletcher says of Hanzal. “He’s a big strong centreman, he plays a heavy game, he makes you earn every inch of the ice when you play against him.”

In 51 games this season, Hanzal has 26 points – including 16 goals and 10 assists. Four of his goals are power play goals.

“We felt this was the best deal for the club. It’s all about alternatives,” Coyotes general manager John Chayka said. “You have preferences and then when you get down to deals you make a decision. My decision was this was the best value for our organization now and into the future. We’ll turn these picks into players eventually…”

The Coyotes are in the league’s basement at the moment, so shipping Hanzal out does free up options for the future. Their 22-32-7 record leaves them on the outside looking in, but Chayka has been working toward the future.

The Wild, meanwhile, are first in the Central Division with a 39-14-6 record and they’ll benefit greatly from having Hanzal’s 6’6, 226-pound frame in the fold. He gives them a big body, plus he plays a solid two-way game.

Hanzal has 313 points in 608 career games for the Coyotes. He was drafted by Phoenix 17th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

White has 13 points in 46 games this season, which puts him on pace for a career year.

Downing, an Abbotsford native, played four seasons with the University of New Hampshire before the Wild took him as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He’s been skating in Iowa with the AHL affiliate and has been a reliable offensive threat.

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