Mike Halford

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25:  Martin Hanzal #11 of the Arizona Coyotes during the NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks at Gila River Arena on November 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 4-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Coyotes acknowledge Hanzal trade could go down

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Martin Hanzal‘s in the last of his five-year deal. Per the Arizona Republic, Hanzal said both sides are “not really talking right now” about an extension and, as we wrote about back in mid-November, his name has surfaced in trade rumors.

Don’t expect those to go away anytime soon.

This week, Coyotes GM John Chayka told the Republic a “transaction could be made” for Hanzal, who would be one of the key targets available at the trade deadline.

“It’s one of those things where we kind of know where the player is at,” Chayka explained. “The player knows where we’re at. If there was an opportunity to do something, I don’t think it would take too long.”

Hanzal, who turns 30 in February, has 14 points through 32 games this year, missing time with a lower-body injury. Health has been an issue for the big Czech — he stands 6-foot-6, 226 pounds — and, over the last two years, he’s missed 63 games due to various ailments.

But when healthy, Hanzal can be very effective.

Last year he racked up a career-high 41 points (in just 64 games played), often skating alongside two youngsters in Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. Hanzal was also terrific in the faceoff circle, winning nearly 56 percent of his draws, and has routinely averaged around 18 minutes per night for the Coyotes, the only NHL club he’s ever known.

Financially speaking, Hanzal has appeal ($3.1M cap hit). And there are teams that would certainly be interested in bringing him aboard.

Montreal has been floated as a suitor. The Habs aren’t deep at center, something that was an issue before losing Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais to injury. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also suggested San Jose or St. Louis would make sense.

To date, Chayka said he’s yet to receive a serious offer for Hanzal, and both the player and organization remain open to an extension.

But one gets the sense Arizona may be ready to move on — in addition to stockpiling centers through waivers and trades (Josh Jooris, Peter Holland, Alexander Burmistrov), the Coyotes also have some good youngsters in the system, including two currently starring at the world juniors — Canadian captain Dylan Strome, and the U.S.’ Clayton Keller.

Related: Coyotes scouts were ‘unanimous’ in wanting Burmistrov

World Juniors: Canada sticks with goalie Ingram for Sweden semifinal

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 02:  Simon Stransky #23 of Team Czech Republic scores on goaltender Connor Ingram #1 of Team Canada during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship quarterfinal game at the Bell Centre on January 2, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Team Canada defeated Team Czech Republic 5-3.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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Canada head coach Dominique Ducharme has announced that Connor Ingram will start over Carter Hart in goal against Sweden in today’s world junior semifinal.

Goaltending has been a major storyline for Canada in this tournament, and not a good one. Neither Ingram nor Hart have looked strong at any point, and the numbers reflect as much — Canada has the ninth-ranked save percentage (.874) among the 10 teams in the tournament.

Only Latvia, which was relegated yesterday, is lower.

Ducharme’s decision to go with Ingram is likely because the Tampa Bay prospect has played in each of the last two games — a loss to the U.S., and a win over the Czechs — while Hart hasn’t seen game action in seven days.

That said, the temptation to make a switch had to be there, especially since Ducharme wasn’t very complimentary of Ingram the Czech game, in which he allowed three goals on his first 16 shots faced.

Hart, a Flyers prospect and the reigning CHL goalie of the year, came into this tournament as the starting netminder but looked shaky at the onset. He allowed a pair of soft goals in a win over Russia, and has only received one start since — an easy 10-2 rout of the aforementioned Latvians.

Sharks waive Nieto, their first-ever Californian draft pick

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 03:  Matt Nieto #83 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Nashville Predators during the second period of Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 3, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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For some time, Matt Nieto‘s been a cool story in San Jose. The Long Beach native was the first-ever Californian to be drafted by the team — 47th overall in 2011 — and, after a solid rookie year in which he scored 10 goals and 24 points in 66 games, looked to be a key part of the Sharks’ future.

Today, that narrative took an abrupt turn.

Nieto was placed on waivers Wednesday, after a difficult season that saw him dress for just 16 of San Jose’s 38 games, failing to score a single goal. Nieto has been out of the lineup since mid-December, when he played just under 12 minutes in a win over Ottawa.

Long regarded for his speed and skating ability, Nieto will almost certainly have suitors on waivers. He posted a career-high 10 goals and 27 points in ’14-15, and only turned 24 in November.

What’s more, Nieto has over 200 games on his resume and some good postseason experience as well — in that aforementioned rookie campaign of ’13-14, he scored five points in seven games, then dressed for 16 games during San Jose’s Stanley Cup Final run last spring.

He’s also affordable, currently on a one-year deal worth $735,000.

‘Canes claim Rattie off waivers from Blues

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23:  Ty Rattie #61 of the St. Louis Blues warms up prior to facing the Colorado Avalanche during their preseason game at Pepsi Center on September 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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St. Louis tried to pass Ty Rattie through waivers, and it didn’t work.

On Wednesday, Sportsnet reported that Carolina claimed Rattie, one day after the Blues exposed him and over a month since his last game action at the NHL level. Rattie has been out of the Blues lineup since Nov. 29 and, all told, has appeared in just four games this year, registering no points.

He also played three more on a conditioning stint in the AHL, registering one assist.

The 32nd overall pick in the 2011 draft, Rattie was once a highly touted prospect. He put up huge numbers in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks, and he continued to produce after he graduated to the AHL.

Last season, he had 46 points in 62 games for the Chicago Wolves.

Rattie’s always had issues breaking into the St. Louis lineup, however. He made his big league debut back in ’13-14, but has never appeared in more than 13 games in a single season.

With Carolina, he should have more of an opportunity.

The club has suffered some losses up front this season. Power forward Bryan Bickell has been sidelined since his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and Elias Lindholm is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury.

This move also fits with GM Ron Francis’ penchant for taking waiver fliers on other team’s prospects. Previously, the ‘Canes scooped Detroit’s Martin Frk and Arizona’s Klas Dalhbeck; two years ago, Francis claimed Andrej Nestrasil from the Red Wings and Nestrasil has turned out well, scoring a career-high 23 points in just 55 games for the ‘Canes last season.

“We feel that Ty has a high skill level,” Francis said in a statement, confirming the Rattie acquisition. “We believe that he can help improve our team.”

Flames prospect Parsons starts for U.S. in big WJC tilt against Russia

LONDON, ON - OCTOBER 9:  Tyler Parsons #1 of the London Knights takes a breather during a play stoppage against the Sudbury Wolves in an OHL game at Budweiser Gardens on October 9, 2015 in London, Ontario, Canada. Parsons scored the first goal by a goalie in London Knights history earlier in the game. The Knights defeated the Wolves 6-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Tyler Parsons, who backstopped the U.S. past Switzerland in the quarterfinal round, has been tabbed by head coach Bob Motzko as the starter for today’s big semifinal tilt against Russia, per NHL.com.

Parsons, taken 54th overall by Calgary at last year’s draft, has largely split netminding duties with Leafs prospect Joe Woll, who beat Canada in the group phase and has the highest save percentage (.935) in the tournament.

Parsons has been the lead dog, however, getting five games to Woll’s three, including the aforementioned quarterfinal win over Switzerland. Parsons was arguably the best U.S. player on Tuesday — despite only facing 16 shots, he made several tough saves late to push the Americans to a narrow victory.

The 19-year-old now gets another shot at defeating the Russians in this tournament. Parsons made 25 saves in a 3-2 win back in the group stage and, per fellow Flame Matthew Tkachuk — who Parsons played junior with in OHL London — the talented ‘tender was full value for the win.

“He was unbelievable in the game against Russia,” Tkachuk said, per the Flames’ website. “In my opinion, he won them that game.”