(General Fanager has their cap spending at a slightly lower level, but let’s stick with “more than $18 million” to keep things simple.)
Whatever the exact amount may be, this development generated a slew of jokes from those hoping their teams would shed unwanted salaries. Just looking at the replies to that Five for Howling tweet, here are some “friendly suggestions.”
Anyway, you get the point, but there are a few things to consider.
For one thing, the Coyotes have a ton of players they can re-sign.
Granted, some of them might not be worth retaining, like maybe Martin Erat. Still, the likes of Mikkel Boedker should eat up space, and the Coyotes may want to pay extra for a backup in case embattled starter Mike Smith isn’t a pretty good goalie after all.
Samuelsson, 21, was the club’s first-round pick (27th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He’s scored 10 goals and 25 points in 50 games with the Pirates this season — his first in the AHL — this coming after a stellar junior career in which he led WHL Edmonton to a Memorial Cup.
Samuelsson will join a Coyotes’ forward group that already includes two 22-year-olds in Lucas Lessio and Tobias Rieder. On defense, Arizona is currently carrying the likes of 21-year-old Connor Murphy and two 23-year-olds in Brandon Gormley and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
In late January, Coyotes GM Don Maloney said the club might also give 19-year-old Max Domi — the team’s first-round pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — his big-league debut this season, once he was done playing with OHL London.
All of this points to the likelihood of an Antoine Vermette trade happening in the not-too-distant future. Other vets like Martin Erat, Zbynek Michalek, David Moss and Keith Yandle could also be on the move.
Coyotes’ Maloney on deadline deals: ‘We’d just like a little bit more than is being offered’
However, Maloney hasn’t been impressed by offers thus far.
“We have good assets. We have good people that other teams would like to acquire,” he said. “We’d just like a little bit more than is being offered right now.”
Arizona (20-31-7) sits five points ahead of the last place Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference and will likely miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
“We know looking at our year we have to be quicker. We have to have a lot more energy into our group. We need to defend better. So all of those areas are going to be addressed. Hopefully a little bit right now at the trade deadline, but certainly in the offseason we think we can do some things to make us certainly a lot more entertaining next year.”
The Coyotes have lost four straight and have just one win in their last seven games. Arizona is back in action Saturday when they play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But Oliver Ekman-Larsson? Would they really trade him?
“Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a player that we would certainly be very, very reluctant to part with,” GM Don Maloney said today on TSN 1200 (audio), “but as far as I am concerned, when you’re sitting with our record, and we’re three or four worst records in the league, then everybody is up for grabs.”
Ekman-Larsson is a young defenseman who plays a ton and boasts all sorts of offensive talent. And just so we don’t misconstrue what was said, Maloney actually brought up the 23-year-old as an example of someone who was unlikely to be traded.
Maloney’s point was simply that nobody — save for captain Shane Doan, who’s “not going anywhere” — is untouchable as the Coyotes begin the process of “taking a step back” and “resetting” the organization with younger players.
Besides Vermette and Yandle, the Coyotes have a number of other veterans who could draw trade interest prior to the March 2 deadline, including forwards Martin Erat and Martin Hanzal and d-man Zbynek Michalek.