NHL assist leader Hanzal day-to-day after exiting Coyotes’ win over Leafs

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Arizona center Martin Hanzal, who registered his NHL-best 10th assist in Monday’s 4-3 win over Toronto, is day-to-day with a lower body ailment after leaving midway through tonight’s contest, head coach Dave Tippett announced.

It’s unclear when the injury happened. Hanzal only played 5:39 in the opening period before being ruled out.

Despite that, the big Czech made the most of his ice time. Hanzal assisted on Max Domi‘s game-opening tally and looked to have scored one of his own moments later, only for referees to rule he high-sticked Michael Stone‘s point shot.

As the statistics suggest, this has been a banner start to the year for Hanzal.

The 28-year-old has occasionally manned the middle between Domi and fellow rookie sensation Anthony Duclair, providing veteran leadership and a stabilizing presence. And considering he’s never registered more than 27 assists in a single year, notching 10 in his first nine games is pretty impressive.

Hanzal’s health will be something to monitor moving forward, though. The Coyotes are off to a strong, and unexpected, 5-3-1 start, but could be in trouble if Hanzal and fellow veteran center Antoine Vermette miss significant time.

Vermette missed his second game in a row on Monday with a lower-body ailment of his own.