Arizona Coyotes Possible Trades Could Change Face of Team

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Some rumoured Arizona Coyotes possible trades could really change the face of the team going forward. Some of the players who have been discussed include quite a list of vital players on the roster. With names like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland, Phil Kessel, Darcy Kuemper, and Clayton Keller floating around on the trade rumour mill, the team could possibly have a whole new look for the 2021-22 season.

Arizona Coyotes Possible Trades Include Star Players

The Coyotes need to do something. They have not made the playoffs in a non-pandemic influenced season since 2011-12. With new general manager Bill Armstrong charged with the responsibilities of improving the team’s performance, Arizona Coyotes trades have got to be considered to deal with that task. So, his offseason theme may be “let’s make a deal” with the possibilities being endless. Let’s just say Arizona Coyotes trades are in his thought pattern for the new future. There are some key players who may be thrown out there as possible trade bait. The most recent of which was a revisit of the OEL trade possibilities.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

The soon to be 30-year-old blueliner may actually be traded this time around. And, the difference will be that Armstrong will check in with other GM’s to see if there is any interest in acquiring OEL. Then, a prospective trade will be presented to Ekman-Larsson to see if he approves of it. He possesses a no-trade clause in his lucrative eight-year $66 million contract. It seems this time around, especially considering that ownership wanted to ship him out last season, that he may be more open to accepting a deal elsewhere. If he has a chance to be on a team which has a good shot at winning it all, he’s got to consider his options this time around.

While no teams or deals have surfaced quite yet, it seems inevitable that this will be sooner rather than later. Even OEL seems to realise that his play has deteriorated and is evidenced by this tweet from AZCoyotesinsider, Craig Morgan.

What Kind of Return Would an OEL Trade Bring?

Morgan also commented about what kind of possible return the Coyotes could get for Ekman-Larsson.

“There could be another team that believes it can revive Ekman-Larsson’s game with a fresh start (Edmonton and former coach Dave Tippett?). The Coyotes could look for similar contracts to Ekman-Larsson’s that other teams are trying to unload to see if there are players that might have some value. Maybe some of those contracts would even carry a little less term, allowing the Coyotes to chip away at the remaining salary owed. Or, they could choose to retain a portion of Ekman-Larsson’s salary to make a trade work.

I don’t think any trade will bring back what you call ‘a bigger return’. Ekman-Larsson’s contract is prohibitive, especially in a flat-cap world. Any deal would likely be more of a bite-the-bullet type of deal.”

Conor Garland

Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoff ranks Arizona Coyotes trades including Garland, fourth in his article. That is mainly due to the Coyotes’ management requesting contract proposals from Garland’s agent Peter Cooney. That was was done on May 20th. Since then, nothing has been mentioned as to if or what a new deal for the energetic forward may look like. If the Coyotes want to improve on their meager offence, Garland has to be in their sights. Yet, the lack of anything getting done is baffling. Is Armstrong so overloaded with work that he can’t get this done? That would be a shame since other teams will pounce on the chance to add Garland to their rosters.

One of those teams is the Los Angeles Kings who have made it known they are looking for two top-six forwards and Garland fits the bill. Don’t forget that the Kings possess some powerful draft picks including the #8 overall pick. They also possess a bag load of prospects to choose from. If for whatever reason (money may be the culprit), Armstrong decides to deal Garland, the Kings may be an attractive trade partner. Garland was a hot trade rumour before the deadline, and it seems that hasn’t changed. What every Coyotes’ fan wants to know is… who can replace him and why isn’t the team pursuing his services as a priority? We’ll soon find out.

Phil Kessel

The main reason Kessel is even being mentioned here is his age (34 in October) and his expensive contract of $6.8 million. Now, he did much better this past season tallying 20 goals with 23 assists in 53 games. The question remains, is Armstrong focused on keeping his roster relatively younger? Is it time for Phil to go? While Kessel may have agreed to come to Arizona primarily due to his close ties to former head coach Rick Tocchet, it is curious if he wants to now leave. There haven’t really been any rumours about moving him. Still, Armstrong may consider a deal if it helps his still undisclosed plans for the team going forward. Kessel can still score, but he is a liability (to put it mildly) on defence. One needs to consider that Kessel would be included in any Arizona Coyotes trades being considered.

Some NHL team may want to pick him up for his scoring potential. Again, a team like the Kings really need that scoring infusion of goals scored. They could realistically look to Phil and say, “we’ve got great hot dogs here too!”

Darcy Kuemper

In a mail bag question to Craig Morgan where he was asked if the Coyotes should expose Adin Hill or Kuemper, Morgan replied:

“I still think Kuemper has more value on the market because Kuemper is still viewed around the league as the better goalie (side note: Team Canada agreed by playing Kuemper over Hill at the World Championship). One of a GM’s primary jobs is to manage his assets well. If you expose a player with more market value while protecting one with less, you are not managing your assets properly.

What will be interesting to see is they try to trade Kuemper and then sign a veteran goalie, but that could be something that comes at the trade deadline (or not at all).”

There’s no doubt that Kuemper is a quality starter. There is also the question mark of his health issues over the past couple of seasons. Can he stay healthy? The Coyotes definitely don’t want another Antti Raanta situation where one of their goalies is injured constantly. If Armstrong is presented a deal that will fill the holes on the blueline or obtain a scoring forward, he’s got to consider trading Kuemper.

Clayton Keller

Last, but not least is Keller. There haven’t been sustained rumours on moving him either, yet his albatross $7.15 million contract through the 2027-28 season is strapping the team’s finances. It goes without saying that former GM John Chayka overpaid the young Keller and now it’s Armstrong’s problem. Keller is a player with potential, but he hasn’t quite reached it yet. Paying him such a large long-term contract was a mistake. A bridge deal for two-three years would have served the team much better. Again, if Armstrong feels the Keller contract is weighing him down to make progress for the team’s future, he’s got to look into moving him. He could bring back a good return and this is another one to watch going forward.

Needs Must be Addressed

If just two of the above mentioned players (OEL, Garland) get traded this team faces some challenges to fill a competitive roster. Certainly there are great candidates to be had on both the blueline and the forward line. Let’s just say Bill Armstrong may not be getting much rest over the next month or so. His work it cut out for him. He needs to get that playbook out and see how much of it is realistic and how much of it is a dream.

This team needs to improve…. and NOW!

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