Don Maloney

Phoenix GM Maloney on trade deadline: “We’re not looking to take anything off our roster”

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.”

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.