As part of Chuck Fletcher’s due diligence before the Martin Hanzal trade, the Wild general manager pulled Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk aside Sunday to ask about his former Arizona Coyotes teammate.
An hour later, Hanzal was a member of the Wild.
“It was funny to have that conversation, go out and practice, then 40 minutes later, the trade was made,” Dubnyk said. “But to have a player of that [6-foot-6] size and strength with the skill and the shot that he has is an unbelievable combination.
“You see [Coyotes captain] Shane Doan’s emotion after the trade, you know what kind of guy [Hanzal] is. It speaks for itself right there.”
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau knows Hanzal well from Anaheim going up against the Coyotes so often in the Pacific Division.
“He can be physical, he’s mean, he’s got a deft little touch, he’s really good on face-offs,” said Boudreau, adding that with Mikko Koivu, “It does help to have two genuine shutdown guys. … I think that actually makes us as deep as any team in the league in that position.”
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon says Hanzal is as tough as they come to defend.
“He’s huge,” Spurgeon said. “Once he gets the puck, it’s tough to get it off him. He’s just a tough guy to handle. Long reach, and in front of the net, he’s great at tipping pucks.”
“He has an undercover mean streak, too.,’’ Chris Stewart said. ‘‘You don’t really notice until he’s there in front of the net.”
Added Hanzal, who was blown away by the Wild’s crowd during Monday’s overtime win over Los Angeles, “I’m really excited. I’m looking forward to [being] on the winning team and this is one of the best teams in the West.”
Boudreau feels adding Hanzal and Ryan White gives the Wild “12 NHL forwards” and he’s not worried about potential chemistry being disrupted.
Initially, if healthy, Jordan Schroeder could come out of the lineup and Erik Haula could be moved to the fourth line. But with 23 games in 41 days, the Wild will need lots of bodies.
“We all have one common goal, and that’s to win,” Boudreau said. “Fourth line, first line, it all depends on how we’re playing. I’ve got no problem moving guys that are playing really good up and guys that are playing really bad down. I think it gives us great balance, and I’m a firm believer that you have to have four lines to be successful.”
Wild players were excited Fletcher’s showing such faith in the team by going “all-in.”
“There is no time like the present for this group with the way we’ve been playing,” Stewart said. “We don’t know when we’re going to get another opportunity like this. He’s giving us a chance. It’s up to us to do it.”
• The Wild recalled Tyler Graovac, who was coming off a hat trick in an overtime loss to Chicago.
• Iowa winger Teemu Pulkkinen was traded to the Coyotes for future considerations. He scored one goal in nine games for Minnesota and wanted a chance elsewhere after scoring 18 goals and 18 assists in 47 games for Iowa.
• The American Hockey League suspended Kurtis Gabriel six games for getting into a fight with Chicago’s Vince Dunn in front of the Wolves’ locker room Saturday.