Arizona Coyotes First Line Centre Search Should Include Aleksander Barkov

Aleksander Barkov

As the Arizona Coyotes failed to make the postseason, they are still in a mindful search process for a first-line centre. One such centre on their list should be the Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov. The 25-year-old who hails from Tempare, Finland and was the second overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, has qualities the Coyotes could really use at centre ice. In 529 NHL games, he has collected 181 goals and 284 assists for 465 points. That’s a scoring rate of 0.88. Plus he’s a super accurate shooter with a 13.6 percent rate to his credit. He knows how to control the puck with a career 52.4 percent Corsi For, and a 2.8 Relative Corsi. Barkov has 438 takeaways and just 310 giveaways. Puck possession and control are great qualities. His scoring is icing on the cake. Of course, this is all speculation, as it seems Barkov may not be going anywhere. He is one of the Panthers’ best players. Trading him may not be in the cards.

Aleksander Barkov Could Solve First Line Centre Hunt for Arizona Coyotes

New general manager Bill Armstrong is developing his plan to improve the Coyotes. He’s got to find a first line centre to get his team on the scoreboard more often. Barkov seems to fit all the requirements for the player the Arizona club could use. He could help to get them to the playoffs more often… and perhaps beyond. Standing 6′-3″, 213 pounds, he would also be able to defend against the bigger centres that the Coyotes will face in the Central Division starting next season. He’s an all around player and is signed through next season at a reasonable $5.3 million.

It must be noted that the Panthers will only have about $8.9 million in cap space this summer to try to ink Barkov to an extension. Conversely, the Coyotes will have about $31.6 million in their coiffures. Executing a trade for Barkov and signing him to a lucrative extension has to be something that Armstrong should consider. It’s been widely stated that there are only a handful of players Armstrong wants to keep. They include budding star defenceman Jakob Chychrun. Keeping him out of the trade speculation, there’s still players who could be trade bait for a prospective Barkov deal. Again, pure speculation in that the Coyotes are in desperate need for a scoring centre.

Adding Aleksander Barkov to the Coyotes Would Give Their Weak Offence a Boost

The 2020-21 Coyotes ranked a miserable 23rd in goals per game with just 2.68 tallies a game. While their power play was decent with a 20.8 percent success rate, adding a player of Barkov’s magnitude would make them a much more effective team. He has 50 career power play goals and 80 assists on the man advantage. His 0.54 assists per game show he is quite the playmaker and that is always something you look for in a centreman. Right now, the current roster doesn’t have a centre who can score or assist on goals anywhere near Barkov. Adding him would be significant.

What Must be Given up to Make a Deal Work

Of course, as the old rule goes, you need to give up something to get something in return. Who could the Coyotes deal to Florida to get Barkov? Florida may want to save some cap space but they are not crazy enough to trade for a Christian Dvorak, or a Nick Schmaltz, right?

If the Yotes could swing a deal for Barkov and give him a longer-term contract worth more, could it be something he’s interested in doing? While, he may be growing weary of the Panthers’ lack of success, would joining the Coyotes give him a new outlook? Probably not. Afterall, the Panthers did make the playoffs this season and ran into the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. While Barkov may not possess the star drawing of Jack Eichel, he is an effective player who has terrific statistics and star attributes.

Many Options to Improve the Coyotes Will be Considered

Bill Armstrong is on a mission to get the Coyotes roster improved and adding a player like Barkov, if possible, should be considered. They don’t have draft picks, and it would take at least two to three years to develop a centre if they were able to receive draft picks over the summer in deals. Barkov is an excellent selection for the Arizona team to consider. Armstrong will be looking at all available options open to him. Trades will certainly be part of that plan.

Let’s see what happens. Can any Coyotes’ fan imagine how great it would be to have a talented high scoring and all around player like Aleksander Barkov in a Coyotes’ uniform? It would be a step in the right direction and can advance the standing of the Arizona Coyotes.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps.

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