What Next For the Arizona Coyotes?
SHOULD THE BRUINS MAKE A MOVE NOW?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy took note of colleague Joe Haggerty’s piece over the weekend calling upon Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to shake up the roster. “Not at the NHL Trade Deadline when prices will skyrocket but now.”
Murphy believes the transitional leadership group of Charlie Coyle, Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly aren’t leading by example. He suggests Massachusetts natives Coyle and Wagner could find themselves playing away from home again but point out the former has a modified no-trade clause and a no-movement clause in his contract.
He suggests Sweeney look deeper into the Arizona Coyotes than defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, as well as explore possibilities with the Ottawa Senators. In a separate piece (stick tap to Florida Hockey Now), Murphy noted Oliver Ekman-Larsson was close to becoming a Bruin last fall, adding Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong “is listening again on his captain.”
Murphy also cites a source claiming Senators center (and Boston native) Colin White was “out there” at the trade deadline two years ago. With younger players coming through the Senators pipeline, the source wonders if White could be available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney might be able to afford Ekman-Larsson’s annual average value of $8.25 million if he could move Coyle’s $5.25 million as part of the return. That’s assuming, of course, Ekman-Larsson is willing to waive his NMC during this season and if the Coyotes aren’t on Coyle’s 10-team no-trade list. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Coyle’s low production and his annual cap hit through 2025-26 won’t attract many suitors unless Sweeney takes a comparable player and contract in return. That’s not going to improve the Bruins before this year’s playoffs.
As for White, the Senators could entertain offers but they might not be in a hurry to move him. He’s got four more years remaining on his deal. They can afford to wait until the offseason if they feel the need to move him out.
KELLER ON THE BLOCK?
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy pondered the possibility of an Arizona Coyotes fire sale at the trade deadline or during the offseason. He wondered if they could consider shopping forward Clayton Keller. A source told Murphy he’d heard Keller’s name “more than you’d expect” before signing his current eight-year contract and is hearing it again, though he stressed GM Bill Armstrong isn’t shopping the 22-year-old forward. The source believes that sort of move would be more likely to happen in the offseason around the NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Coyotes we can’t rule out the possibility of Keller getting traded. However, it’s worth pointing out Coyotes Insider Craig Morgan doesn’t see Keller being that high on the trade board.
WHAT WILL THE RANGERS DO WITH BUCHNEVICH?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers have a big decision to reach with Pavel Buchnevich before the April 12 trade deadline. He wonders if the winger has played well enough to be taken off the trade market or if he’s priced himself off the roster going forward. Buchnevich turns 26 next month, is slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and will be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
With 22 points in 26 games, Buchnevich has become one of the Rangers’ most reliable forwards this season. Moving him would create a hole on right wing that could take a couple of years to fill. If they’re going to trade him, Brooks feels they should get a young, no-doubt top-six center or a grinding-oriented winger comparable to Toronto’s Zach Hyman but doesn’t envision either scenario happening.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks believes it could cost $5.5 million annually to lock up Buchenevich long-term. The Rangers could entertain offers for Buchnevich at the trade deadline but they don’t have to move him by April 12. They still hold his rights through 2022 so they can address this issue in the offseason when teams have more cap space and willingness to make significant trades.
UPDATE ON TERRY
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday he’d heard Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry might be looking for a change of scenery. However, Stephens cites a source indicating that’s not the case.
LATEST ON DUMBA, STAAL, MANSON, MERZLIKINS AND RAANTA
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek updated their NHL Trade Deadline Big Board. Several notable additions include Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Buffalo Sabres center Eric Staal, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins and Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba’s on this list because of the difficulty facing the Wild in protecting him in the expansion draft. With the team playing well, however, general manager Bill Guerin could be reluctant to make a significant move that might upset team chemistry. He could wait until the offseason, perhaps around the NHL Draft, to trade Dumba before the expansion draft.
Staal’s garnered plenty of attention in the rumor mill with recent speculation tying him to the Edmonton Oilers and his former club, the Carolina Hurricanes. I consider him most likely to move among the newbies on The Athletic’s list.
Injuries have limited Manson to six games this season. Custance and Duhatschek noted there is precedent for teams to acquire an injured defenseman at the trade deadline (Sami Vatanen). However, the year he has remaining on his contract could create headaches for teams trying to protect their defensemen in this summer’s expansion draft.
The Blue Jackets’ fading playoff hopes could lead to them moving Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo at the deadline. With a year left on his contract at an affordable $4 million, he could be enticing for teams seeking goalie depth beyond this season.
The Coyotes could consider shopping Raanta as he’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. However, that’s not a certainty with starter Darcy Kuemper sidelined and the Coyotes trying to stay in the playoff chase.
UPDATES ON THE SABRES AND COYOTES
WGR 550: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Buffalo Sabres are trying to determine the value of all their players and where they fit into the club’s long-term plans. He believes GM Kevyn Adams is receiving calls and could be calling other clubs to see what the trade value is for his players.
He believes Eric Staal “will be motivated to go somewhere and play”. He expects the Sabres could get a second-round pick for him but this is a buyer’s market. Friedman also wonders if the club sees Sam Reinhart as part of their future with or without Jack Eichel. He thinks there is interest in the Sabres’ winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Staal isn’t playing elsewhere by April 12. As for Reinhart, I don’t doubt there’s plenty of interest. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but there are bound to be some teams seeking scoring with available cap space to give him a lucrative extension if the Sabres get a quality offer for him.
AZ COYOTES INSIDER: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked about the recent Clayton Keller trade rumors, Morgan doesn’t believe the 22-year-old forward is high on the trade board. He has seven years left on his contract with an annual average value of $7.15 million.
Asked about what moves the Coyotes could make at this year’s trade deadline. He anticipates GM Bill Armstrong will try to ship out as many players on expiring contracts as possible in exchange for draft picks as he restocks the prospect cupboard. However, he feels Armstrong could add a player if the right opportunity presents itself.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, look for guys like Raanta, Niklas Hjalmarsson (if he waives his no-movement clause), Alex Goligoski, Derick Brassard and Jason Demers to become the Coyotes’ trade candidates.
Goligoski recently surfaced in trade speculation. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun recently said he believes the Philadelphia Flyers have him on their list of potential targets. He’s a left-handed shot but can play either side. However, his $5.475 million AAV (with currently $2.69 million remaining to be paid) could be a sticking point.
LATEST ON DOMI AND BERNIER
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline listed Max Domi in the “Available” category of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ trade tiers. He’s made very little impact since joining the Jackets in an offseason trade with Montreal. Given Domi’s struggles, however, Portzline believes they’d have to sell low and that would cement the Josh Anderson trade as one of the worst in franchise history.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players thrive under a demanding coach like John Tortorella. Some don’t. Domi is in the latter category. Given his inconsistent play throughout his career, however, his trade value is likely at an all-time low.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan believed Jonathan Bernier will draw plenty of interest around the league from contenders seeking goaltending depth. He thinks they might even get a second-round pick for the pending free agent. Moving him would weaken the Wings’ depth between the pipes but they could attempt to bring him back this summer via the UFA market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Colorado Avalanche could be among the suitors. The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers suggested bringing him back for the playoffs. However, The Athletic’s Peter Baugh pointed out the Avs’ limited salary cap space could make it difficult for GM Joe Sakic to wheel and deal at the deadline.
Possible destinations for Henrik Lundqvist and Bobby Ryan plus the latest on Patrik Laine, Darcy Kuemper, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHERE COULD LUNDQVIST AND RYAN LAND AS FREE AGENTS?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks looked at potential landing spots for Henrik Lundqvist. The 38-year-old goaltender was bought out of the final year of his contract yesterday by the New York Rangers. Brooks suggests the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights (if they trade Marc-Andre Fleury), Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks (if Jacob Markstrom departs via free agency) as options.
SPORTSNET: The Canucks make Mike Johnston’s list, which includes the Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars (if they fail to re-sign Anton Khudubin), and Chicago Blackhawks if they move on from Corey Crawford.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests Lundqvist could provide affordable goaltending insurance to contenders like the Capitals, Stars, Blues and Golden Knights, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Winnipeg Jets. He also suggested some playoff hopefuls that could provide him more playing time like the Oilers and Canucks, along with the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears there are a number of clubs that could be destinations for Lundqvist but this is all mere media speculation right now. But how many of those clubs will be serious suitors and how many of them is he willing to consider as acceptable destinations? His affordability, experience and leadership would be invaluable, but finding the right fit and the right role will be crucial factors.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Joe Fordyce reports Bobby Ryan said the Philadelphia Flyers would be high on his list of destinations if they made him a contract offer or extended an invitation to training camp. The 33-year-old winger was recently bought out by the Ottawa Senators.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt cites The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz recently reporting the San Jose Sharks are one of “many teams” believed interested in Ryan. “They could certainly use a right wing,” said Kurz.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the Flyers are among the clubs interested in Ryan. Whoever signs him will likely do a short-term deal (one-to-two years) for probably between $2 -$3 million per season. Some clubs could try him in a second-line role while others could see him as a third liner.
Speaking of the Sharks, they also reportedly talked to the Minnesota Wild about goaltender Devan Dubnyk and winger Ryan Donato. Kurz suggests this could have some legs as a possible package deal.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS
SPORTSNET: In his latest 31 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman expects Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois to “think unconventionally” in the offseason. He believes teams will ask if defenseman Mikhail Sergachev wants a bigger role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sergachev should get an opportunity for a bigger role with the Lightning. Kevin Shattenkirk, Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn and Jan Rutta are unrestricted free agents. All of them could depart on Oct 9. Granted, they’re also right-side defensemen and Sergachev plays the left side, but I can see the Bolts trying to convert him to the right side.
Friedman expects the Dallas Stars will try to move a big salary, although trade protection is a concern. He expects Anton Khudobin has priced himself out of Dallas. Ben Bishop’s full no-trade becomes a partial, but his actual salary drops to three years at $3.5 million, which is manageable for the Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly lists Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Joe Pavelski as the three highest-paid players with each carrying full no-movement clauses, followed by Alexander Radulov with a 15-team no-trade list. Trying to move any one of them will be difficult.
Friedman thinks the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes had a discussion about Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but he doesn’t see if a deal is possible.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It isn’t unless the Canucks move some salary to take on Ekman-Larsson’s $8.25 million AAV and he agrees to be traded to Vancouver.
If the Jets decide to trade Laine, Friedman wonders if there’s a match with the Columbus Blue Jackets or Carolina Hurricanes. He believes the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers could do it but isn’t sure they would. He also wondered about the New York Islanders but mentioned their salary-cap issues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will set a big asking price if they put Laine on the trade block. They need a second-line center and a top-four, right-shot defenseman. There’s also the fact he’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights and will be in the market for a big raise over his current $6.75-million AAV.
The high volume of goalies available in the UFA market could affect the trade market, making it difficult for a club like Pittsburgh to trade a netminder. Friedman suggests that’s why the Arizona Coyotes’ preference is to retain goalie Darcy Kuemper. He believes the Calgary Flames talking with the Columbus Blue Jackets about one of their goalies but that talk has cooled.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams that fail to address their goalie needs via free agency could return to the trade market, but their numbers will be depleted after the best UFA goalies are signed. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch also cited sources claiming the Coyotes could retain Kuemper, but he thinks that could change if GM Bill Armstrong gets a first-round pick and another piece he’s seeking in the deal.
Speaking of the Flames, Friedman thinks they could revamp their blueline depending on who’s available. Noah Hanifin’s name was mentioned when the Flames were talking with the New Jersey Devils about Taylor Hall last month.
Speaking of the Coyotes, Friedman wonders if they’ll test the market on forward Clayton Keller.
The Washington Capitals are trying to shed some salary to re-sign defenseman Brenden Dillon.
The New Jersey Devils are willing to move the 18th and 20th picks in this year’s draft but Friedman doesn’t see them shopping the seventh-overall selection. The Anaheim Ducks aren’t averse to moving down a few spots from sixth overall.