Martin Hanzal could face a fascinating contract year

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This is part of Arizona Coyotes day at PHT …

The window is open for the Arizona Coyotes to sign Martin Hanzal to a contract extension, but they might just let him play out his current deal instead.

New GM John Chayka explained the thought process to Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan (if their skimpy salary structure doesn’t stand as enough of an explanation in itself).

“If there was something that made sense, we would probably take a closer look at that because Marty’s been a good player for us,” Chayka said. “But maybe it’s not a bad thing to get into the season and see how things play out.”

Hanzal, 29, is carrying an affordable $3.1 million cap hit in 2016-17. If he goes through next season with an extension, his contract year situation would be awfully intriguing.

A contract year to watch

On one hand, Hanzal is the sort of guy a lot of teams would clamor for, especially ones that gravitate toward big, rugged centers.

He’s developed into a better point-generator in recent years, too, averaging at least .62 points per contest since 2013-14.

Unfortunately, it’s crucial to discuss such rates because he can’t seem to put a healthy season together.

Buyer beware

He played 64 games in 2015-16, 37 in 2014-15 and 65 in 2013-14. He managed 81 GP in 2009-10, but aside from that, he’s missed at least eight games every season. The Coyotes probably grimace and pencil him in for about 15-20 missed games per year at this point.

The thing is, Hanzal could luck out and play at or near 82 games, enjoying a career-high scoring season and rake in the money on the free agent market.

That’s the risk the Coyotes might be willing to take. Every other NHL GM would be wise to consider the red flags if he does indeed manage a big year at the perfect time.