Arizona Coyotes Improving Offensively As Trade Deadline Nears
Just as the Arizona Coyotes are beginning to see the offensive side of their game awaken, the trade deadline nears and threatens to take away two of it’s biggest catalysts.
This trade deadline could prove a bountiful one for the Arizona Coyotes.
There are few definite sellers, and the very things that are most coveted on the trade market are stocked in general manager John Chayka’s cupboard.
Need a second or third line center who can throw his weight around, add some scoring, and win crucial face-offs? He’s got it.
Want a winger who can help you out in possession and chip in a decent amount of goals and points on the cheap? Say no more.
Searching for a right-handed defenseman coming off of a very respectable career-high in scoring? Look no further.
Whatever other NHL GM’s want to gear up for a Cup run, Chayka has it.
He and the Coyotes’ organization are in prime position to add to their stockpile of prospects and picks by the end of March 1st. The question for some, however, is at what cost?
Hanzal has a real shot at his first 20-goal season, and bar another bout with the injuries that have plagued his career will certainly eclipse his career-high of 16 goals this season.
He’s going to be a hot commodity on the trade market, but he’s an important commodity in the desert as well. The Yotes are simply not very good without him in the lineup.
Ditto for Radim Vrbata who leads the Coyotes in points and is second in goals.
The NHL-at-large figured the 35-year-old was washed up but he’s proven he’s far from it. There’s still goals in those old hands, and it’s likely several NHL teams have reconsidered their stance on Vrby. His very affordable contract doesn’t hurt matters, as well.
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Losing both players at the deadline would rob Arizona of their top and fourth leading scorers, effectively consigning the final month-plus of the season to growing pains, experimentation, and acquiring experience for the youth.
And that’s exactly what John Chayka should be aiming for.
The Arizona Coyotes are firmly in 29th position in the 30-team NHL. They are 11 points back of 28th placed Winnipeg and Dallas, and 11 points ahead of 30th placed Colorado.
No matter what they do, it’s highly unlikely they are moving up or down the standings at this point.
Their lottery position is secured, so why not get what value you can out of Stone, Hanzal, and Vrbata and get ice time for as many guys as you can who will definitely be here next season?
It could also begin the redemption story of Anthony Duclair.
These guys departing the desert isn’t the end. It creates opportunities.
Some of these kids may shine because of it. Some will fail.
Either way, we’ll know. Chayka and Dave Tippett will gain information for next season. The cycle will continue, and the team will grow.
And Hanzal and Vrbata, well, this is their home.
There’s no ruling out either returning this summer to bolster the kids heading into next season.