Martin Hanzal heads to Czech League


Martin Hanzal played for Ceske Budejovice of the Czech Extraliga before heading to North America. With the NHL players locked out, Hanzal is returning to those roots, according to the Arizona Republic.

Hanzal made his 2012-13 debut in Ceske Budejovice’s 3-0 loss to Litvinov on Wednesday. He’s playing on the same team as the Ottawa Senators’ Milan Michalek.

If it wasn’t for the lockout, Hanzal would have already started the first season of his five-year, $15,500,000 contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. The deal was supposed to pay him $2,500,000 in 2012-13 and his annual salary is projected to increase to $3,500,000 in each of the final two seasons of the deal.

Hanzal had eight goals and 34 points in 64 games with the Coyotes last season. He also ended up scoring three goals and registering three assists in 12 contests during the 2012 playoffs.

Hanzal served a one-game suspension for boarding Kings captain Dustin Brown during Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.