The most current trade bait list published by thefourthperiod.com shows four Arizona Coyotes players on the list. They include: Oliver Ekman-Larsson at #3, Phil Kessel at # 6, Conor Garland at #9, and Darcy Kuemper at #12. Many of the trade rumours seem to involve the Boston Bruins for some reason. So, would an ideal Arizona Coyotes trade partner include the Boston Bruins? Whether any of the rumours pan out is yet to be determined. We will go through each scenario as to what may attract the Bruins to look at the four above mentioned Coyotes’ players.
Boston Bruins May be a Good Arizona Coyotes Trade Partner
The Bruins were mentioned as a possible trading partner in the article from thefourthperiod.com. They need or want a left-handed defenceman, additional support on offence, a top-six forward, as well as a goalie to fill in while Tuukka Rask recovers from hip surgery. Rask could be out until January or February 2022.
Considering whether or not the Bruins get serious about attempting to acquire Jack Eichel, if they pass then they may have enough cap space for Ekman-Larsson. Keep in mind, we already know that Ekman-Larsson included the Beantown Bruins in his two-team list of acceptable trade destinations last year. The largest issue with dealing Ekman-Larsson anywhere is his huge contract. It carries an $8.25 million cap hit through the 2026-27 season. The other kicker is the way the contract is leveraged. He is due $10.5 million in base salary over each of the next three years. That may be too much for the budgetary Bruins to swallow even if they do have a projected $30 million worth of cap space. Keep in mind that the Bruins also have to deal with their own unrestricted free agents.
If the Bruins bring back Taylor Hall, David Krejci and finally Rask they will dissolve a good portion of that cap space. Yet, the Bruins are capable of making a square peg fit into a round hole. Would a Brandon Carlo trade work if the Coyotes retained some of Ekman-Larsson’s contract? Perhaps. He is looking for a longer-term contract, rather than just a bridge deal, so the possibilities would be there. At 6-foot-5, 212 pounds, and a right-hand shooting defender, the Coyotes may be salivating at the prospect of adding him.
Hey, why not go back to where it all started? Whether or not Kessel has the Bruins on his list of no-trade teams is not known. For him getting on a team who could always use some secondary scoring has to be an attraction. For the Bruins, Kessel has just one more year on his $8 million AAV contract. The Coyotes are only on the hook for $6.8 million thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs retaining the remainder. The real attraction for a Cup contending team is Kessel’s $5 million bonus that was paid July 1st. With the Leafs’ help, the Bruins would only owe Kessel about $850,000. For 20 goals last season, that’s the type of deal Boston likes. Could the Bruins give the Yotes a prospect and a draft pick for Kessel?
As was reported by Sportsnet in March near the trade deadline, Garland stirred up some interest from the Bruins. It seems that could still be the case in the off-season. Garland and his agent provided general manager Bill Armstrong two contract proposals back in May to keep him in the desert. Thus far, nothing has been mentioned by the Coyotes’ management on a contract extension. Garland has been playing for peanuts over the last two seasons collecting only $775,000 per year, yet he’s led the team in scoring. With new head coach Andre Tourigny onboard, perhaps the wheels of progress on re-signing him will move forward. It should be a priority for the Arizona club.
Kuemper has been in trade rumours for a bit. He had a very disappointing season marred with an injury which kept him out of the lineup when the Yotes needed him the most. Speaking of injuries, the Bruins also have to deal with the fact that Rask will be out for at least three months while having hip surgery. That type of surgery for a 34-year-old goalie may be debilitating, to say the least. Since his contract is ending, he could just hang it up. Even if he does come back he may be relegated to a backup role. That’s where someone like Kuemper may fit in for Boston. Could a Jake DeBrusk trade for Kuemper work? DeBrusk’s salary is $3.675 million and his contract expires after the 2021-22 season.
Kuemper’s contract coincidentally also expires at the same time. His cap hit is $4.5 million. With Jeremy Swayman also looking to be ready to play for the Bruins and Rask’s potential return, this type of short-term rental goalie could be attracted. It is unlikely that the Bruins want to be locked in to a goaltender long-term. DeBrusk has also seemed to have fallen from grace in Boston and he may seek a change of venue. This proposed deal could work well for both teams.
Like any NHL trade, it must work for BOTH teams to have it go down. Will two-to-three players be dealt by the re-tooling Coyotes this off-season? Will Ekman-Larsson and Garland be included in the same blockbuster trade? The suspense has to be killing Coyotes’ fans. It seems most have digested the fact that Ekman-Larsson is likely departing the desert. Losing Kessel may not be a tear-jerker for the fans either. However, losing Garland, a fan favourite, may take time to deal with. Kuemper would also be missed and it leaves a gap in the net that Adin Hill can’t alone fill.
One thing is certain, the wheels of deals are turning in Bill Armstrong‘s office these days. The team needs some talent added to get to the playoffs again, and it won’t be easy. Such is life in the NHL.