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Game #34 – Hawks vs. Stars: Spotlight – Hanzal? Hanzal?

We give Dallas GM Jim Nill a lot of shit for a lot of things. The way he completely ignored his goaltending situation the past three years or so. Or when he did try to remedy it he ended up with Antti Niemi. And then ended up with Ben Bishop, which might only be a slight upgrade. The way he stuck by Lindy Ruff when it was clear that his defense-less ways were never going to allow the Stars to go anywhere. Or the way he “wins” every offseason according to the hockey media, and then the Stars are still not around when the calendar gets to May. Or they miss the playoff altogether.

We’ve spent so much time going over all that we’ve missed his Martin Hanzal signing. And this one might really suck. It might be one of the worst of the summer, actually.

Before we get to what Martin Hanzal is, let’s get to what he was. Martin Hanzal has scored over 40 points exactly twice in his 10-year career. And never more than 41. He’s never scored more than 16 goals in a season. Connected to that, he’s only played more than 70 games in a season four times, and three of them were in his first three seasons. He gets hurt, and he doesn’t score much when he’s actually on the ice.

And Jim Nill gave him $4.7 million for the next three years.

Here are some centers making around the same money. Bryan Little makes the same, as far as cap hit. When he signed that deal, he was coming off 32 points in 48 games in 2013. He then backed it up with a 64 point seasons and a 52-point season. Vincent Trocheck makes the same cap hit. He has two 50-point seasons and has been a point-per-game this year. Artem Anisimov’s cap hit is slightly less, and it’s probably not a good contract, but he’s about to gather his third-straight 20-goal season. Nazem Kadri makes $4.5 per year, and he’s got three 50-point season and is going to add a fourth this year. Other names are Marcus Johansson, Valtieri Fillpula, Tyler Johnson, Alex Galchenyuk, Jori Lehtera. Make of that what you will, which is probably there are some really dumb GMs around.

Hanzal has five points this year. He’s also been a possession black hole, which given his just-shit-myself skating style on a team that can get-up-and-go isn’t a huge surprise. His relative-Corsi is -5.37 and his -10.3 relative xGF% is one of the worst in the league.

Nill will get away with it because Kari Lehtonen’s $5.9 million hit and Dan Hamhuis’s $3.7 million hit come off the books this year. Even with Roussel, Johns, Shore, Elie, Janmark, Smith to re-sign. Then again, they’ll only have 11-14 million to do all that with. The following year Tyler Seguin is going to get his, but Jason Spezza’s hit comes off the books. So Nill might dodge the damage that could come along with such an oversized mistake.

To be fair to Hanzal, Jabba The Hitch has used him exclusively as a checking-line center. He starts only 32% of his shifts in the offensive zone, so of course his metrics are going to be low. Still, if you want merely a punching bag who sucks up defensive zone draws, you can probably find one for cheaper than $4.7 million per year.

More genius. You gotta love it.

Game #34 Preview




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