Don’t expect much movement in the desert next week.
That’s the word from Phoenix GM Don Maloney just seven days before the NHL’s annual trade deadline. With the Coyotes surging — they’re 8-1-1 in their last 10 and two points back of San Jose for first in the Pacific Division — it’s sounding like his club will stand pat through Feb. 27.
“I like the group, I like the mix, I like our chemistry,” Maloney told the Arizona Republic. “We’ll still work very hard to see, ‘Can we make it a little better?’ But we’re not looking to take anything off our roster.
“I just think we’re in a good place where players know their roles, know what to expect and if we do this and stay healthy, then we’re a playoff team.”
This is a real about-face for Maloney, who has been very active at the past two deadlines. Last year he beefed up the Coyotes defense by acquiring Michal Rozsival and Rostislav Klesla; two years ago he obtained Wojtek Wolski, Petteri Nokelainen, Derek Morris and Mathieu Schneider. The Coyotes ended up making the playoffs both years, but were unceremoniously bounced in the first round by Detroit (in seven and four games, respectively.)
Now, it’s a different strategy altogether. Maloney says there are fewer sellers than ever and he’s wary of overspending. There’s also strong chemistry within the ‘Yotes room, something he’s loathe to mess with.
“So much of what we do here in Phoenix is mix chemistry, personalities,” he said. “We pay a lot of attention. Even though a guy might on paper look like a skill-set we could use, if the personality doesn’t fit we’ll stay away from him.
“I hope something falls our way to give us a little better chance at the trade deadline, but [we are] not holding our breath.”