Smith, Hanzal ‘real close’ to rejoining Coyotes

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Arizona, one of the youngest teams in the NHL this season, will soon get a veteran injection into the lineup.

Martin Hanzal, who’s been out the last two weeks with a lower-body injury, is traveling with the club for its upcoming two-game swing through Vancouver and Calgary.

So too is No. 1 netminder Mike Smith, who has missed the last 12 games with a lower-body ailment of his own.

Getting the pair back would be a huge boon for the Coyotes. Hanzal, 29 is one of the club’s best centers — if not the best center — and had four points through nine games prior to getting hurt.

Smith, 34, has been missed. His absence has forced Louis Domingue into the starter’s position and while Domingue has fared well at times, he’s struggled with consistency.

“Some good games this year and some not so good,” head coach Dave Tippett said of Domingue’s season, per the Arizona Republic.

The Coyotes made waves at the start of the year by putting a bunch of kids on their opening-night roster: Dylan Strome, Lawson Crouse, Jakob Chychrun and Christian Dvorak, most notably.

Each has had varying degrees of success, but overall the club has struggled and currently finds itself in the Pacific Division basement, with a 5-9-0 record.

Update: In moves that further suggest Smith and Hanzal are close, Dvorak and backup netminder Justin Peters have been assigned to AHL Tucson.

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