- Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta is injured once again, reports Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider (Twitter link). The 31-year-old has had a hard time staying in the lineup in recent years, a trend that has continued this season. A pending UFA, Raanta has been speculated as a possible trade chip at the trade deadline but missing any time due to injury doesn’t help his value. Ivan Prosvetov is up from the taxi squad to serve as Adin Hill’s backup for tonight’s game.
- Also from Morgan’s note, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is out due to an upper-body issue. The injury was sustained in Monday’s loss to Colorado and there is no word on how long he will miss. The team announced (via Twitter) that both Raanta and Hjalmarsson were placed on injured reserve.
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, we continue our closer look at some of the players who have a good chance of being on the move between now and April 12th.
For more than a decade, Alex Goligoski had been one of the more consistent secondary offensive blueliners. From 2009-10 through 2019-20, the 35-year-old had just one year below 30 points while averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game. It was reasonable to expect the same from him coming into this season.
However, that hasn’t been the case at all which hasn’t helped an Arizona attack that wasn’t the strongest to begin with. Now, the Coyotes find themselves out of a playoff spot with several veterans set to become unrestricted free agents. If they wind up selling, he will be a name to keep an eye on.
Goligoski is in the final season of a five-year, $27.375MM contract ($5.475MM AAV) with a $4MM salary. Per CapFriendly, his deal contains an eight-team no-trade clause. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Goligoski had an assist in Arizona’s season opener and since then, he has just one assist in a 30-game stretch. This type of offensive drought is simply unprecedented for him and has certainly come at an inopportune time both in terms of trying to help his market value for free agency and his trade value for the Coyotes.
It’s not all negative, however. He has been an anchor on Arizona’s top penalty killing unit, one that is well above the league average; it’s that element that may be the most appealing to teams looking to upgrade on the back end. He also has been more disciplined than usual with just four minor penalties despite logging more than 22 minutes per night so far.
Is that a great return on such a high price tag? Certainly not but the fact remains that Goligoski is still a capable defender but this season, he has been more of a shutdown option than the two-way player he had been for so long. Who knows, perhaps a change of scenery would help revive his offensive game as well?
31 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -1 rating, 8 PIMS, 36 shots, 22:24 TOI, 46.6 CF%
Quite a few teams will be on the lookout for defensive upgrades although Goligoski’s season and contract will have him a little lower on the wish list at this time. However, as other options are either dealt or pulled off the market, they could pivot to him closer to the April 12th trade deadline.
In the Central, Chicago is a possible fit. They have the cap space with Brent Seabrook (and others) on LTIR which makes them one of the few potential playoff teams that can make a move without requiring Arizona to retain money. They’ve had varying degrees of success from their youngsters but if they are serious about trying to make the postseason, adding someone like Goligoski would upgrade their third pairing and penalty kill without costing much in terms of future assets.
Among East Division teams, Boston has been hit hard by the injury bug and has been going with a by-committee approach for most of the season. Goligoski would give them a stable option on the third pairing at a minimum with the potential to move up if needed. At this point, they’re probably setting their sights higher in terms of a rental to pursue but if those don’t pan out, they could pivot to Goligoski and depending on who returns between now and then, they may not need an offset as well. A similar case can be made for Philadelphia who is believed to have interest in him if other moves don’t pan out.
In the North, Winnipeg has a definite need to add to their back end, particularly on the left side. However, they’re already into LTIR and don’t have enough room in there to absorb his full cap hit. Unlike regular cap room, it doesn’t accrue on a daily basis either so some sort of offset would be needed. Montreal has a void to fill with Ben Chiarot out for six-to-eight weeks but with minimal cap space, making such a move work would be difficult.
As for the West, there isn’t a great fit unless Los Angeles was to go on a bit of a run over the next few weeks to pull themselves into the race. If that happened, they could benefit from a veteran like Goligoski on the back end and have more than enough cap space to bring him in. If that doesn’t happen though, Arizona will have to look outside the division for a trade partner.
Likelihood Of A Trade
Simply because of his contract, a Goligoski trade can’t be pegged as a certainty. There will be cheaper options to choose from (the Coyotes have several other veteran rentals with lower cap hits) and there is a possibility that by the time the dust settles, contenders opt for those lower-priced players and there isn’t a fit for him. However, Goligoski is better than quite a few of the other rentals out there even with the season he’s having which is important. A lot will depend on their willingness to retain salary and/or take a contract back to offset some of the money and if that happens, there’s a better chance than not that he moves.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Arizona Coyotes are currently in fifth place in the West Division. However, the team remains six points out of a playoff spot with the Los Angeles Kings one point behind them, making their chances of a playoff spot challenging, at best. Throw in the expectation that the Coyotes could soon undergo a rebuild with 11 unrestricted free agents currently on their roster and taxi squad and the team could find themselves sellers at the trade deadline.
Not coincidentally, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported late Saturday on the Headlines segment during Hockey Night in Canada, that the Coyotes have received significant inquiries about forward Conor Garland, who has been one of the bright spots on the team.
“I’m hearing Arizona’s been asked about him,” Friedman said. “And it’s not something I think they really want to do, but if the offer is big enough that it allows them to restock, I think they’re going to at least consider it.”
The 25-year-old Garland is no longer a prospect, but has emerged as one of the team’s top players. He currently leads the team with 25 points and is tied for second in goals behind Clayton Keller (10) with nine. Garland will be a restricted free agent this season with arbitration right and will receive a significant raise from his current $775K contract.
Garland broke out in a midseason callup during the 2018-19 season when he jumped into the league and tallied 13 goals in 47 games. He followed that up with a solid season last year, scoring 22 goals and 39 points in 68 games. However, Garland has been even more impressive this year, not too far off from being a point-per-game player, something that all teams could use to bolster their lineups, plus offer long-term firepower considering his age.
Friedman notes that the Coyotes would prefer not to trade Garland, but the young forward could bring in quite a return from teams looking to boost their scoring. On top of that, while many salary-capped teams have limited options to trade for with little to no wiggle-room under the salary cap, Garland would be a cheap option for any team, making his trade value significantly higher than many other trade deadline options.
There is a strong belief that many players in Arizona are trade deadline options, including a large contingent of defenders, including Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, Jordan Oesterle and Ilya Lyubushkin (all UFAs). However, if Arizona put Garland on the market, it could be one of the team’s biggest returns.
March 19: The Coyotes have officially announced the signing of Provolnev to a one-year entry-level contract for the 2021-22 season. GM Bill Amstrong released a short statement on his newest defenseman:
We are very pleased to sign Vladislav. He is a big, strong defenseman who skates well and plays a physical style. He also has a good shot and can contribute offensively. He will be another good blueline prospect for us.
March 18: The Arizona Coyotes are adding some depth to their defensive group, as according to Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider, the team has agreed to terms with Vladislav Provolnev. The 25-year-old defenseman will be limited to a one-year entry-level contract that should start in 2021-22 as he is an undrafted free agent, not a member of the Coyotes’ reserve list, though Morgan does not specify and the team has not officially announced it yet.
Provolnev broke out offensively this season in the KHL, scoring 10 goals and 20 points in 48 games for Cherepovets Severstal. That number dwarfed his previous career-high of eight points and could well be an outlier in his career. The 6’3″ defenseman certainly isn’t known for his offense, but instead brings a high level of physicality and defensive play.
The Coyotes will have plenty of room on their blue line next season, given the apparent departures of almost the entire current group. Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, Jordan Oesterle and Ilya Lyubushkin are all scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency after this season. That will leave just Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jacob Chychrun among the regulars, with several prospects vying for full-time roster spots. Provolnev should be one of those, though the transition from the KHL to the NHL has proven difficult for many defensemen in the past.
With the trade deadline now a month away, teams are starting to set their list of potential targets. For the Flyers, that list is believed to include Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski, reports Pierre LeBrun in his latest piece for The Athletic (subscription link).
That Philadelphia is looking to add help on the back end should come as no surprise. Matt Niskanen’s retirement came as a surprise last offseason and the team never really properly replaced that role. They added Erik Gustafsson but he is more of an offensive-minded blueliner with a much different skill set than what Niskanen brought to the table.
Goligoski isn’t quite the same type of player as Niskanen either but he’d be able to replace some elements, particularly on the penalty kill front. The 35-year-old is logging 3:25 per night on Arizona’s back end when shorthanded, second-most on the team. Considering that the Flyers have a success rate of 73.7% (25th in the league), adding someone that could conceivably jump onto their top penalty kill unit would be a nice addition.
However, Goligoski also isn’t someone who provides much in the way of offense like he used to. He has averaged 35 points over the last seven seasons but this year, he has just two assists in 26 games despite still logging over 22 minutes a night. He also carries a $5.475MM cap charge, something that the Flyers wouldn’t be able to afford right now without either sending money the other way or Arizona retaining some salary.
Those two factors will likely keep Goligoski’s trade value a little lower, presenting a situation where GM Chuck Fletcher could conceivably keep this on the back burner for the time being and turn back to it if more desirable options don’t pan out. But at the very least, something like this – a small upgrade on a back end that’s in need of improvement at a reasonable acquisition cost – is something that Philadelphia would be wise do to over the next month.
The Arizona Coyotes won’t say quite how bad it is yet, but things aren’t looking good for Darcy Kuemper. The team placed the goaltender on injured reserve today and Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider tweeted earlier today that there is fear he could miss as many as four weeks. Kuemper is heading back to Arizona for further evaluation, meaning he’ll likely miss at least the last six games of the current road trip.
The Coyotes have recalled Ivan Prosvetov from the AHL to serve as the taxi squad goaltender while Adin Hill and Antti Raanta take over the active roster duties. Frederik Gauthier and Michael Chaput have also swapped spots between the roster and taxi squad.
Losing Kuemper is a huge blow for Arizona, though not one they should be unfamiliar with. The 30-year-old goaltender has dealt with injuries throughout his entire career, but certainly since arriving in Arizona during the 2017-18 season. Still, he’s also been one of the very best goaltenders in the league during that time, at least whenever healthy enough to be in the net. As a Coyote, Kuemper has posted a .922 save percentage in the regular season and finished in the top-seven of Vezina Trophy voting in each of the last two years.
While Raanta and Hill are certainly talented enough to hold the fort, an injury like this could have interesting trade deadline ramifications. It seemed likely that if the Coyotes ended up selling, at least one of Kuemper or Raanta would be moved, given the latter is on an expiring contract and the former can be a legitimate game-changer. Now, with Kuemper out for a while, those plans could be complicated. The Coyotes aren’t flush with goaltending depth in the organization past Hill, with the 22-year-old Prosvetov having just 34 games of AHL experience under his belt. David Tendeck, the only other goalie signed to an NHL deal, only just started his pro career and hasn’t suited up higher than the ECHL.
With three goalies required at the NHL level (one can be on the taxi squad) at all times, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for moves over the next few weeks.
Although we’re not even two months into the season, the trade deadline is just over a month away. Where does each team stand and what moves should they be looking to make? We begin our look around the league with the Arizona Coyotes.
Despite the Arizona front office creating headlines for all the wrong reasons, the Coyotes have been competitive all season long. A recent slide has put them four points out of a playoff spot in the West, but there have been enough bright spots to make many believe they can contend for the postseason once again this year. The next few weeks will be crucial in deciding their deadline stance.
10-10-3, 6th in West Division
Deadline Cap Space
$7,546,715 in full-season cap space, 0/3 retention slots used, 46/50 contracts used per CapFriendly.
Upcoming Draft Picks
2021: ARI 2nd, CBJ 2nd, ARI 4th, PIT 4th, ARI 5th, ARI 6th
2022: ARI 1st, ARI 2nd, ARI 3rd, ARI 4th, ARI 5th, ARI 6th, ARI 7th
If the Coyotes decide to sell, they’ll have a huge number of veteran players available for contenders around the league. Even if they find themselves in the playoff mix, Alex Goligoski may be approaching the end of his time in the desert. The Coyotes are already listening to offers on the 35-year-old defenseman, knowing they can cash in before he hits unrestricted free agency in the summer. Goligoski has been a rock for Arizona since the 2016-17 season, recording at least 27 points in each of the last four years. He has just a single assist this year though, a dramatic decline after losing his powerplay spot.
It’s not just Goligoski on the blueline though. Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, Jordan Oesterle, and Ilya Lyubushkin are all on expiring deals and set to hit the open market after the season is over. Though it seems unlikely that all of them will be gone, the Coyotes do have pieces to sell if they decide to.
Perhaps the most interesting chip though is Clayton Keller, who was recently listed at No. 6 on The Athletic’s Trade Deadline Big Board. The 2016 seventh-overall pick has never become the dominant offensive force that many expected, failing to even crack 20 goals or 50 points since his rookie season. If the Coyotes decide to rebuild the draft pipeline and shed salary, trading Keller could be the easiest to pull off. His eight-year $57.2MM contract is just starting and the no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until 2024-25. Even though he may be available, it does seem more like an offseason trade than a deadline one.
1) Draft picks – The Coyotes had to wait and watch other teams make 110 selections in the 2020 draft before they got involved, and when they did they picked controversial prospect Mitchell Miller, who they have since renounced the rights to. That means their 2020 draft class consists of Carson Bantle (142nd overall), Filip Barklund (173rd), Elliot Ekefjard (192nd), and Ben McCartney (204). It’s entirely possible that the team never gets a single NHL game out of that group, meaning it was a lost year entirely. They already don’t have a first-round pick for the 2021 draft, meaning they’ll need to refill the system in one way or another at some point.
2) Young(ish) defense – Even if they move some of those expiring contracts, it doesn’t mean the Coyotes are completely giving up. There may be an appetite to add some defensemen in the 22-26 range that can step into the vacant spots and help the team right away. Names like Brandon Montour that need a fresh start or even someone like Jake Bean who is blocked in a deeper system could certainly be attractive to a team like Arizona, though how they would afford them (asset-wise) isn’t really clear.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
As trade talks heat up, one player that certainly seems more likely than not to be finishing the season on a different team is veteran defenseman Alex Goligoski. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that the Arizona Coyotes are listening to offers for Goligoski and are expected to move him before the trade deadline in six weeks. Goligoski was also listed at No. 22 on The Athletic’s Trade Deadline Board and labeled “the most attractive” of Arizona’s five impending free agent defensemen.
Goligoski, 35, is in the final season of a five-year, $27.375MM contract that he signed with Arizona back in 2016. Although Goligoski has enjoyed some of his best seasons over the course of the contract, Seravalli states that there have been no extension talks with the Coyotes and Goligoski is expected to hit free agency this summer. With Arizona currently at .500 and sitting in sixth place in the West Division, looking unlikely to contend for a playoff spot, Goligoski is worth far more as a trade chip than he is remaining on the roster.
The Coyotes, uniquely in need of draft picks this year, stand a good chance of getting a nice return for Goligoski. Seravalli believes that there is already interest in the mobile defenseman and that interest could grow as the deadline grows closer. Goligoski brings experience and ability to any team willing to give up the pieces needed to get him. And while his contract carries a $5.475MM AAV, Goligoski is only making $4MM in actual salary, which could appeal to teams that are being careful about their finances. Seravalli also points out that teams are impressed by Goligoski’s ability to eat minutes, even late in his career, as well as his versatility as a left-shot who is equally comfortable on the right side. All these factors could produce a wide pool of suitors of Goligoski in the coming weeks.
While the NHL Trade Deadline is exactly six weeks away and trade whispers have grown louder in recent days, a number of sources warn that it may be a mistake to expect an active trade market. The factors at play are what one might expect: the flat salary cap and clubs’ financial limitations as well as the U.S.-Canada border restrictions. Speaking on Sportsnet 960 in Calgary today, Elliotte Friedman noted that the market is much quieter than recent rumor and speculation has led everyone to believe. He cites the border issue – a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any player heading north – as limiting potential trade partners, but states that finances are an even greater inhibitor. Friedman said that many clubs are not looking to add salary and stress is being placed more on actual dollars than on cap hits. The Athletic’s Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek take it even one step further, reporting that “few teams have permission to add salary” and noting that some non-contenders have been ordered by ownership to cut salary if at all possible. There is also the issue that many of the teams who may have the financial ability to add salary lack the cap space to do so. CapFriendly currently lists 16 teams – more than half the league – with projected cap space that amounts to less than a minimum salary and only seven teams currently in a playoff spot are among those with flexibility.
Fortunately, we may not be entirely without fireworks at the deadline. Friedman notes that major investments on players whose impact on teams will last beyond just this season or next could be seen as exceptions to the rule when it comes to adding salary. These additions can be excused as a financial commitment beyond the current financial and flat cap crises. Custance and Duhatschek also point out that for those Canadian teams with the means and desire to add, the deadline may be a little late given the possibility of lengthy quarantines, meaning trades could start up well before six weeks from now. There is hope that there will still be some transactional excitement this season and possibly even sooner rather than later.
- It sure seemed like a notable trade was about to occur this weekend. On Saturday, it was reported by a number of sources that the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks were nearing a deal that would have swapped Jake Virtanen and Danton Heinen. However, the deal never occurred and Friedman questions whether it was really as close as it was made out to be. The two sides certainly did discuss a trade and those two players in particular, and by all accounts continue to do so, but Friedman says that things got “carried away” before a firm deal was in place. The two sides are committed to balancing out the salaries in the trade and while Virtanen and Heinen do have very similar cap hits, their salaries are not even. In the final year of his contract, Heinen carries a $2.8MM AAV and near-equal amount of actual salary. Virtanen’s contract carries a $2.55MM AAV and he is owed only $1.7MM in salary this year, but he has an additional season remaining and $3.4MM in salary. That discrepancy is significant and a major hurdle and the reason why Friedman says a one-for-one swap was never a possibility. He notes that Derek Grant was discussed as a possible addition from Anaheim’s side and he could still be part of a final deal. In the first year of a three-year contract, Grant’s $1.5MM salary next year and $1.75MM in 2022-23 could help to offset Virtanen’s cost to Anaheim next year, but it doesn’t entirely cover the the difference and it is of course discounting the fact that Grant is a valuable player in his own right and not just a salary dump. There is clearly still more work to be done by the Ducks and Canucks if this heavily-rumored deal is to actually become reality. In the meantime, Friedman stated that Virtanen’s salary next season is a turn-off for most teams and could hinder Vancouver’s ability to trade him, especially if these talks with Anaheim fall apart.
- One other limiting factor for the current trade market is that a pair of notable rental candidates may not be willing to waive their No-Movement Clauses. While there could be interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, especially in a lacking rental market for blue liners, don’t expect the respected veteran to be on the move. Custance and Duhatschek write that Hjalmarsson has no interest in waiving his NMC and appears content to play out the final year of his contract in Arizona. Hjalmarsson does appear to have lost a step, scoring at a career-low rate and getting penalized at a career-high rate, so perhaps it’s in the best interest of all parties if he finishes out the year and rides off into the sunset. The more surprising note from Custance and Duhatschek on a player who also may not be willing to waive their NMC for a potential trade is Taylor Hall. Signed to a one-year deal this off-season, it was expected that Hall would again be the top trade deadline target if the Buffalo Sabres were not on a postseason trajectory. Well, the Sabres are certainly not playoff-bound, but Hall doesn’t seem to mind. Custance and Duhatschek cite sources who believe that Hall, ranked at just No. 24 on The Athletic’s trade board, is happy in Buffalo and would like to stay. There is a belief that an extension may be more likely than a trade at this point, even with the Sabres’ season in shambles and the team in need of the immense trade capital he would return.
- Another year, another season in which the Detroit Red Wings will be sellers at the trade deadline. However, the team may be looking to move more than just rentals in the coming weeks (or in the off-season). A rival executive tells Custance and Duhatschek that GM Steve Yzerman is listening to all offers and wouldn’t be surprised if a young core forward such as Anthony Mantha or Tyler Bertuzzi were moved. Mantha, 26, is struggling this season and it remains unclear what his ceiling may be in the NHL as he has dealt with injury and inconsistency over the years. Bertuzzi, also 26, actually got off to a great start early this season, scoring at the best pace of his career albeit in nine games. He has since been sidelined by injury and without building on his hot start, there remain concerns that his development has flatlined in Detroit. If the Red Wings doubt that either player can be an effective part of the young core they are growing in the pipeline, they could be moved.
Each day, the NHL will publicly release the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams due to being in COVID-19 Protocol. Though today’s list release was delayed, here are the awaited results:
As a reminder, inclusion on this list does not mean that a player has tested positive for Coronavirus or even that they have been confirmed as a close contact to another positive person. Included in the NHL’s list of possible reasons for someone being on the list is are the following:
(1) an initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is completed pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol; (2) mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals pursuant to the Positive Test Protocol; (3) required quarantine as a high-risk close contact in accordance with the Positive Test Protocol; (4) isolation based on a confirmed positive test result and/or; (5) quarantine for travel or other reasons as outlined in the COVID-19 Protocol
Players removed today: None
Unfortunately, the new addition to CPRA list today is a familiar name. Coyotes forward Hayden had previously been on the list earlier this season and now makes his return. Hayden was made a healthy scratch last night and Arizona made a roster addition earlier, seemingly without an open spot, so this move explains the situation.
There were no players removed from the list today, but with Dzingel only on the list as a post-trade quarantine formality and Konecny expected to be removed in the next day or two with a negative test following his required two-week absence, the league is still in a good place, especially compared to their status a few short weeks ago.