Craig Leipold regrets the Hanzal trade

After trading their first-round pick in 2017, a second-round pick in 2018, a conditional pick in 2019 and Grayson Downing for Martin Hanzal, Ryan White and a fourth-rounder from the Arizona Coyotes. Minnesota owner, Craig Leipold, is starting to regret the decision he supported.

The Wild had their best regular season to date. Notching 49 wins and 106 points. They were looking like an actual Stanley Cup contender in the first half of the season. Now technically they shot themselves in the foot when they traded away some good picks for Hanzal, who will become an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1st.

In hindsight, geez, I wish we wouldn’t have done that, said Leipold, per the Minneapolis Tribune. I supported that decision at the time, and I’m willing to live with it.

To be clear, Leipold wasn’t bashing his general manager, Chuck Fletcher, for making the Hanzal deal because the owner thought it was a good move. Leipold told the Star-Tribune that he still fully supports the direction in which the Wild are headed and is excited about the prospects coming through the system, but that the team’s best-ever 82-game season wasn’t good enough.

I’m not satisfied where we are, Leipold said. In my feeling with the playoffs, we took a step back, and we never expected that. We didn’t think that was going to happen, so it’s causing us to think, 'What do we need to do'?
Hanzal was far from terrible after joining the Wild (four goals, 13 points, 15:31 of average ice time in 20 games), but he just didn’t make a big enough impact to warrant giving up all those draft picks. He had a success rate of 56.4% in the faceoff dot. He was ranked 18th in the League with 767 faceoff wins.

Again, you look back at those five games and you go, ‘How did that happen?’ I can’t certainly blame Chuck for any of that, and I don’t. … A lot of good things happened last year. We just ended up bad. We have to identify what happened there, and we need to address those, and I know Chuck is doing that right now.
Do you think it was a wrong move for the Wild in acquiring the 6-foot-6, 226 pound centreman?

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