The title has transferred ownership over the years, moving from Jeremy Roenick to Daymond Langkow and on to Mike Ribeiro – for just a season – and then Antoine Vermette.

Martin Hanzal was the latest to hold the distinction as the Coyotes’ No. 1 center, sitting at the top of the team’s depth chart until he was included in a trade with the Wild before the deadline last month that fetched a collection of draft picks and a minor-leaguer.

Addressing Hanzal’s absence looms as one of the organization’s most intriguing decisions of the offseason and while they have opportunities with the draft, trade market and free-agent pool in addition to looking internally, the Coyotes may very well discover few options exist to solidify the position.

“You look at it right now,” coach Dave Tippett said, “(and) you’d have to say it’s a work in progress.”

No generational talents in draft

Many of the top prospects in the 2017 draft class are centers with Nolan Patrick headlining the group as the projected No. 1 pick.

“He’s an exceptionally smart player,” said Craig Button, TSN’s Director of Scouting and a former general manager of the Calgary Flames. “He can skate. He can make plays. He can shoot the puck.”

Nico Hischier is the second-best player in the draft, in Button’s eyes, and reminds Button of Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg. Gabriel Vilardi seems to always be around the puck and while he isn’t the most fluid skater, Button said, he can create scoring chances.

Elias Pettersson has strong pucks skills, Cody Glass makes plays and Michael Rasmussen is a goal scorer.

While it’s possible one or two of those centers play in the NHL next season, Button said, none are talents like Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, and they aren’t expected to make an impact in their debuts like those two have.

“I don’t see anyone close to that,” Button said.