The Arizona Coyotes have made a couple of notable trades in the past 24 hours, and while the league’s trade/waiver freeze is in effect until Thursday, they may not be done dealing over the next few days and weeks.
After acquiring Nick Cousins from Philadelphia on Friday (read about it here) and trading goalie Mike Smith to Calgary (read about it here), the Coyotes are reportedly one of a number of teams interested in Rangers’ center Derek Stepan, and general manager John Chayka suggested Saturday there could be more moves to come.
“Until we determine exactly what we can do with these newly allocated resources, it’s still to be determined what the real return is in this trade,” said Chayka of the Smith deal during a conference call.
“This move wasn’t made in isolation. It was made to set up other moves to improve our club.”
The Coyotes retained 25 per cent of Smith’s salary in the deal, and they now have about $30 million in cap space for next season — in addition to newly acquired prospects and assets from these most recent trades.
One of the offseason needs now for the Coyotes will be to shore up their goaltending, which they can tend to through the trade market — there have been a number of notable goalie deals this offseason — or free agency.
They acquired the rights to pending unrestricted free agent Chad Johnson in the Smith trade, and already have 25-year-old Louis Domingue under contract for one more season at just over $1 million before he’s slated to become a restricted free agent.
“In terms of a void, I think there’s lots of options out there. It’s something we’re obviously very active in right now and hopefully we can get a good goaltender in there that can help our group next year,” said Chayka.
Does that include the newly acquired Chad Johnson?
“I think it’s a possibility, just like I think there’s a lot of good goaltenders out there and from year to year, the variance is quite high. Sometimes, good goalies have bad years and average goalies have exceptional years,” said Chayka.
“I think Chad had a good career for himself as a back-up, had an excellent year, last year, and there’s a chance he could be a starter in this league. Right now, we’re just sorting through all the different options and he’d be one of them.”