It goes without saying that the Arizona Coyotes trade rumours are already starting with their season concluded. Another year and another failure to get to the playoffs. Of course, they did make it last season in the pandemic shortened campaign, but only because 23 other teams besides them also made it. The team sorely lacks a first-line centre. It must be general manager Bill Armstrong‘s priority… after signing a new head coach. There are some possibilities out there to inquire about, and we will discuss them here.
First Line Centre Heads Arizona Coyotes Trade Rumours
Not since players like Jeremy Roenick (1996-97 – 2000-01) have the Arizona Coyotes had a centre who can score. Roenick collected 152 goals and 227 assists in 454 games with the Coyotes. He had a 0.83 points per game average which is the best among Coyotes’ players positioned at centre ice. Daniel Briere during the 2001-02 season managed 32 goals and 28 assists. But that was just one season. Travis Green collected 25 goals, 21 assists in the 1999-00 season, but again just one season’s performance. Mike Comrie scored 30 goals, and 30 assists in the 2005-06 season.
That’s it for centres’ production during the 25 years the Arizona Coyotes have been a franchise. Now, they have had wingers who can score. Take, for instance, Keith Tkachuk. In 640 NHL games in Arizona, Tkachuk had 323 goals and 300 assists, or 0.97 points per game. Then there was Radim Vrbata who had 509 games with 157 goals and 186 assists for a 0.67 points per game. His 35 goals during the Coyotes’ most successful season in 2011-12 is still the most current player to hit that many goals on the team.
The Centre Position Must Produce Better
The Coyotes have Christian Dvorak, and Nick Schmaltz at the centre position, but neither has exceeded 20 goals in a season during their time in Arizona. Clayton Keller started out at the centre position and was moved to the wing. The hopes of either Dvorak or Schmaltz being a first-line centre has not really happened. Thus, the need to acquire a centre through trade or free agency seems to be in order. If the team can add a good scoring centre, they may be able to compete better and get to the postseason more often.
What Players the Team Should Try to Acquire
Obviously, the big thing of late is the Jack Eichel never-ending trade rumours that he has had enough in Buffalo. Although he not officially voiced his desire to be dealt, all the writing is on the wall that he really wants out. He is upset that the team won’t agree for him to have surgery to replace a damaged disc in his neck.
His offensive prowess would put the Coyotes into a higher stratosphere offensively and he would be the focal point on the offence for certain. He has had five seasons scoring 20 or more goals excluding this season where he has been injured.
During his six seasons in Buffalo, he has registered 139 goals and 216 assists in 375 games. That equals a 0.95 points per game average. Needless to state, he would dominate the offensive side of the puck. The bad part is his $10 million price tag through 2024-25. Then, there’s his health with his proposed surgery.
Scott Burnside of The Athletic (subscription required) wrote about the possible teams who could have an interest in Eichel. Of course, the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings may be favourites, but the Coyotes were listed under the “will test the market” category.
Burnside wrote: “If you’re Arizona why not take a run at Eichel? The Coyotes are again looking for a fresh start after an unsettling season on and off the ice, and Eichel instantly becomes the franchise center they’ve never had. There’s room financially to make it fit. Plus at 24, Eichel is right in the wheelhouse with the rest of the young talent the Coyotes have. Give up Clayton Keller to make this happen? Again we ask, why not?”
According to Lyle Richardson of Bleacher Report, Kuznetsov could be dealt to five different teams. One of them is the Arizona Coyotes. The Washington Capitals may experience some difficulty trading Kuznetsov this summer. According to Cap Friendly, he still has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.8 million and a 15-team no-trade list. It’s not known if the Coyotes reside on his no-trade list.
Pierre LeBrun from TSN Insider Trading mentioned that the Capitals may look into trading Kuznetsov.
While Kuznetsov has struggled a bit this season with nine goals and 29 points in 41 games, he still averages 0.80 points per game. During the 2017-18 season, he managed 27 goals and 56 assists in 79 games. That’s the kind of offensive firepower the Coyotes lack.
Kuznetsov’s Down Side
While he may provide needed offence, will his off-ice behaviour can be a deterrent to dealing him? He has missed a team function and has not followed COVID-19 protocol. While his salary is less than Eichel’s, he has not performed that well recently.
Who the Capitals May Want in Return
Adding Kusnetsov on a line with Phil Kessel and Keller could really boost the Coyotes’ poor 2.68 goals a game average. Richardson is suggesting that the Coyotes may need to offer either Nick Schmaltz ($5.9M thru 2025-26) or Christian Dvorak ($4.5M thru 2024-25) in return to make the deal work. Whether new GM Armstrong is willing to give up on those two young players is still an unknown.
Final Analysis for Arizona Coyotes Trade Rumours
It is that time of year when NHL GM’s earn their money. Armstrong will definitely be earning his salary. After finding his new head coach and support coaching staff, he needs to jump right in to improve his team. Neither of these two trades may come to fruition, but something needs to be done to get this team a first-line scoring centre.
It may take all summer, but Coyotes fans deserve a winner.
After all, they’ve been waiting 25 years to win a Cup. Getting better players has got to happen. We’ll see what GM Armstrong can get done this offseason. This should be interesting!