2010 NHL Free Agency: Coyotes sign Martin Hanzal to two-year, $3.6M contract

martinhanzalhitsdraper.jpgThe Phoenix Coyotes solved their largest remaining on-ice issue today, wrapping up 6’5″ forward Martin Hanzal to a two-year deal that ESPN’s EJ Hradek reports will be worth $1.5 million during the 2010-11 season and $2.1 million in 11-12. That deal will register a $1.8 million annual salary cap hit.

Hanzal hovers around 30-something points per season (33, 31 and 35 points in his three seasons in the NHL) while providing a substantial presence as a big two-way forward. He registered a career-high 104 PIM in 2009-10, so if he improves his scoring punch a bit he might be an interesting choice in fantasy hockey.

His deal is a slightly scaled down version of Peter Mueller’s and while Hanzal won’t approach the former Coyotes forward’s level of offense, he too has a great chance of exceeding the value of his deal. Hanzal is the kind of physical, defensive-minded forward who is especially useful in hindering some of the Pacific division’s biggest pivots including Joe Thornton and Anze Kopitar.

Don Maloney earned the first ever GM of the Year award for his work in the 2009-10 season and he’s putting himself in position to earn it for the second year in a row. I really like what he’s done this off-season, even if most of his moves are on the less-than-flashy level.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”

Yes! Jagr’s bringing back the mullet

Ice Hockey - Day 6 - Czech Republic v Slovakia

The greatest mullet in sports history is making a comeback.

According to the Miami Herald’s George Richards, Jaromir Jagr says he’s bringing back the party in the back.

“I have to,” Jagr, 43, said.

Jagr’s teammate with the Florida Panthers, goalie Roberto Luongo, appears to have been the lead lobbyist in all this.

Anyway, this is fantastic.