With their playoff hopes fading and recognition by all parties that they would not reach agreement on a contract extension, the Arizona Coyotes trade forward Mikkel Boedker to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday in a deadline deal that brought them 16-year veteran Alex Tanguay and a pair of prospects.
"When it became clear he was determined to not sign with us, we did what we had to do," general manager Don Maloney said. "We got the best deal that was available to us.
In addition to Tanguay, a 36-year-old forward, the Coyotes added two prospects that Colorado selected in the first three rounds of 2014 draft: forward Conner Bleackley and defenseman Kyle Wood.
Boedker’s trade was considered a foregone conclusion as the Coyotes (27-30-6) faded in the Western Conference playoff race with five consecutive losses — a streak that grew to six with Monday’s post-deadline loss to Pittsburgh. Boedker will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and off-and-on negotiations on a contract extension had reached an impasse.
Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said the team had resumed talks with Boedker’s agent in mid-January and made a "real hard push at the All-Star game."
He said when it became clear that Boedker was more interested in testing the free-agent market, the Coyotes stepped up the process of trying to find a trade partner.
Maloney said the Coyotes offers of late-round draft picks for some of its other impending free agents such as Kyle Chipchura and Niklas Grossmann because of its desire to remain competitive for the final six weeks.
"We’re not throwing the towel in," he said.
Maloney described this year’s trade deadline market as "very, very cautious."
"We’re happy with what we got, but a week ago, if you would have asked, I certainly would have thought we’d get something a little better," he said.
Boedker was third on the team in scoring with 39 points — 13 goals and 26 assists. He was the first-round draft pick (eighth overall) of the team in 2008 and has played 445 career games with Arizona — tallying 80 goals and 133 sssists. His most prolific season was 2013-14, when he tallied 19 goals and 32 assists. He had 14 goals in 45 games in 2014-15 before his season was ended because of a ruptured spleen.
Boedker said he’s excited about the opportunity to join a Colorado team in the thick of the playoff hunt, but the excitement is mixed with sadness.
"Definitely a lot of friendships built," he said. "That’s going to be the hardest part. Shared a tear with Doaner (Shane Doan); that’s a guy that’s been with me since the beginning, and he’s a guy I’ll always look up to."
Tanguay has four goals and 18 assists for the Avalanche in 52 games with season. In a career spanning 16 seasons and 1,070 games, he has a total of 279 gals and 571 assists. He’s played nine seasons in Colorado, five in Calgary and one each in Montreal and Tampa Bay.
Bleackley, 20, was a first-round draft pick (23rd overall) in the 2014 entry draft. He has 13 goals and 28 assists this season for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL. Wood, 19, has eight goals and 27 assists for the North Bay Battalion in the OHL. Wood (6-feet-5, 223 pounds) was a third-round pick of the Avalanche in 2014.
Maloney said Bleakley is dealing with a knee injury, and if he’s not signed by June 1, the Coyotes would receive a compensatory second-round pick. He sees Wood deepening the Coyotes’ pool of defensive prospects.
"Our blue line is where we have to get stronger," Maloney said. "He’s a guy we will sign and continue to develop and hopefully become an NHL regular."
The trade follows two other moves by the Coyotes over the past 48 hours. They claimed forward Jiri Sekac off waivers from Chicago on Saturday and traded minor-leaguer Matthias Plachta and a conditional seventh-round draft pick to Pittsburgh on Monday for forward Sergei Plotnikov.
Maloney said Sekac and Plotnikov have shown promise but have been lacking in opportunities of late.
Plotnikov, 25, has two assists and 20 penalty minutes in 22 games for Pittsburgh this season. Sekac, 23, has one goal and three assists this season, playing six games for the Blackhawks and 22 for the Anaheim Ducks.
In other roster moves before Monday’s game, the Coyotes recalled forward Craig Cunningham and assigned forward Tyler Gaudet to Springfield of the American Hockey League. Cunningham, 25, had 17 goals and 17 assists in 42 games at Springfield. Gaudet has a goal and two assists in 14 games with the Coyotes.
The team also made two deals involving minor-league players:
–They sent forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Dan O’Donoghue and defenseman James Melindy to the Penguins for forward Matia Marcantuoni, a 22-year-old who has been playing for Wilkes-Barre-Scranton of the AHL.
–They sent 32-year-old defenseman Corey Potter to the Nashville Predators in exchange for future considerations.