The Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes have completed a minor trade, swapping a pair of minor league players. The Kings will receive Brayden Burke and Tyler Steenbergen, while the Coyotes are getting Boko Imama and Cole Hults.
None of the four players have spent any time in the NHL to this point, and Hults is the only one under contract for the 2021-22 season. This deal will really just change the minor league mix for both clubs, giving young players a fresh start.
Burke, 24, scored just one goal in 28 games for the Tucson Roadrunners this season but was a 20-goal man in the past. A huge offensive piece in junior, Burke was undrafted out of the WHL because of his size and a lack of explosive skating ability. He’s proven he can be a top producer at the minor league level, but is unlikely to really receive much of an opportunity in Los Angeles.
Steenbergen, 23, was drafted, but is likely just as far away from the NHL. Remembered for his gold medal-winning goal for Team Canada in 2018, Steenbergen had just 13 points in 36 games for the Roadrunners this season. Another player who had huge junior totals but doesn’t really have the size for the NHL level, if signed he’ll likely spend next season in the AHL.
Imama, 24, had one of the more interesting QMJHL careers in recent memory. After having a career-high of 28 points through his first four seasons of junior hockey, he ended up scoring 41 goals in 2016-17, helping the Saint John Sea Dogs win a league title. He was a dominant physical presence that season, using the size and strength that had previously helped him as a fighter to bully his way to the net. Imama still had 105 penalty minutes that season, and has continued to fight in the minor leagues. He scored nine goals and 14 points this season, racking up 56 penalty minutes in 31 games.
Hults, 23, only has one year of professional experience after coming out of Penn State. His 19 games this season resulted in just five points, but he is perhaps the closest to the NHL given his position. The young defenseman could potentially see some time for Arizona next season, though just like the other three, will likely spend most of the year in the AHL.