The Arizona Coyotes will be without Antoine Roussel for a good chunk of the remaining season, as the veteran forward has been ruled out for the next six weeks with a lower-body injury. The Coyotes recalled Hudson Fasching yesterday, a move that would likely be explained by Roussel’s absence.
While it’s not like the Coyotes were going to be competing for the playoffs, losing Roussel does still hurt given his status as a pending free agent. The team could have potentially flipped him at the deadline for an asset of some sort (even a late-round pick), given his experience and defensive ability. The 32-year-old certainly isn’t the player that was a rock-solid bottom-sixer for the Dallas Stars several years ago, posting double-digit goal totals in four consecutive seasons, but he’s still a decent penalty killing option that brings more than 600 games of NHL experience to the table.
With a six-week timeline, there likely isn’t a market for his services unless it’s as a long-term injury salary cap play. An acquiring team could potentially grab him, move him to LTIR and keep him out until the playoffs–six weeks from now gets him relatively close to the end of the current schedule–where his cap wouldn’t be an issue any longer. The Toronto Maple Leafs did a similar thing with Coyotes’ teammate Riley Nash last season, giving the Columbus Blue Jackets a conditional seventh-round pick for the injured forward, only to have him back in the lineup during their first-round playoff series.
Still, Roussel was never going to generate a ton of interest given how much his offensive game has deteriorated, meaning this is really nothing more than an opportunity for the younger players in Arizona to get some additional minutes. An unrestricted free agent in the summer, Roussel’s future in the NHL looks tenuous at best after recording just three goals and six points in 47 games this season.