If Martin Hanzal is worth something close to his trade deadline price, then it’s a pretty big deal that he’s expected to play for the Minnesota Wild tonight.
The hulking forward last suited up on March 10, but it looks like he should be good to go against the New York Rangers after dealing with an illness. (There’s no word of Minnesota’s mumps issue affecting the big center.)
Meanwhile, Ryan White‘s early new-team surge seems to have subsided:
In seven games with the Wild so far, Hanzal has four assists, averaging just under 16 minutes per game. He’s won 47.3 percent of his faceoffs and is getting cushier zone starts than he did in Arizona, indicating that – at least early on – he hasn’t had a necessarily enormous defensive impact.
There’s still time for him to be a difference-maker, and helping the Wild end their three-game losing streak/get back on track to battle Chicago for the Central crown would make that trade look a lot better.