RALEIGH, N.C. — Trade rumors are no longer swirling around the Arizona Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes so the two last-place teams can go about their business of trying to improve their stocks.
They meet Friday night at PNC Arena.
Both teams were likely to be sellers up to this week’s trade deadline, though the teams went the entire final day without a deal.
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Earlier in the week, the Hurricanes sent forward Viktor Stalberg to the Ottawa Senators for a draft pick.
Carolina coach Bill Peters said he knows that there’s a period of time of uncertainty that can be un-nerving for players, so now that time has passed.
“They’re humans, so it has an impact on you,” Peters said. “So now I think we can kind of settle in.”
The Coyotes weren’t overly active in the days leading to the trade deadline. Their most significant move was sending center Martin Hanzal and forward Ryan White to the Minnesota Wild.
Arizona forward Radim Vrbata was among the players who is glad he doesn’t have a change of address.
“There was a reason why I signed here, and I wanted to finish the season here,” said Vrbata, who once was a member of the Carolina team.
He joined the Hurricanes in a March 2003 trade, so he has been through that process.
Arizona is coming off Thursday night’s 6-3 loss at Buffalo, so their woes continued.
The Coyotes lost defenseman Kevin Connauton in the third period of that game after he sustained a crushing hit, so his availability for Friday night is unclear. Coach Dave Tippett said it’s an upper-body injury, listing him day-to-day.
However, the Coyotes could have left winger Anthony Duclair, who joined the team in Buffalo (but didn’t play) upon a recall from the minor leagues.
Arizona forward Max Domi said the Coyotes should be able to focus on improvement.
“We have to continue to grow here and try to find ways to get better,” Domi said. “It’s a good challenge. Individually, we have to challenge ourselves.”
As for Carolina, the Hurricanes have a slightly different look than when they last played at home.
Center Jeff Skinner missed the past two road games with an upper-body injury. The Hurricanes recalled forwards Patrick Brown and Andrej Nestrasil to fill in.
Brown made a solid impression in Wednesday’s game 4-3 overtime loss at Tampa Bay.
“He knows how to play,” Peters said. “He had a big blocked shot there. He showed a lot of speed. I hope we can get him enough games that we can get a fair evaluation on him to see where he fits moving forward.”
The Hurricanes made a two-game southern swing to Florida and came away with a point in each game but without securing a victory.
“If it’s not going your way, dig in and find a way to change that,” Peters said.
Friday night’s game is the first of consecutive meetings between the teams, with the rematch Sunday at Arizona. The Coyotes have been outscored by a combined 10-4 in the first two stops on the road trip, also losing at Boston.
Carolina is unbeaten in its last five home matchups with Arizona.
Last season, Carolina won both meetings with the Coyotes.