The Arizona Coyotes have placed forward Brandon McMillan and defenseman Chris Summers on waivers, per TVA.
McMillan, 24, is probably the more noteworthy of the two, as he appeared in 38 of Arizona’s 41 games this year, scoring one goal and three points. A former third-round pick of Anaheim (85th overall, 2008), McMillan had a solid rookie campaign for the Ducks — 11 goals, 21 points in 60 games — but failed to find similar success with the Coyotes after being acquired in exchange for Matthew Lombardi at the ’13 trade deadline.
Summers, 26, had an even higher draft pedigree — he was the Coyotes’ first-round pick at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft — but has never made good on that promise, appearing in just 61 games over the course of five years with the organization. In 14 games this year he’s posted a minus-12 rating while averaging just over 13 minutes per night.
Some other transactions from the Coyotes today that put the Summers/McMillan moves in perspective:
— Martin Hanzal was placed on IR.
— Brandon Gormley is out tonight.
— Philip Samuelsson has been recalled from AHL Portland.
Related: Coyotes’ poor play ‘falls directly on us leaders,’ says Doan
The Arizona Coyotes are experiencing leadership problems this season — just ask them.
Or, read the following quotes from AZCentral:
“Our inconsistency has probably been the most glaring weakness and that pretty much falls directly on us leaders in the room.” — Shane Doan
“I think the leadership has obviously got to step up — that’s the guys we count on every night and that’s the guys we need to step up right now because it’s a bad situation.” — Martin Hanzal
“(The veterans) have to do their job. They can’t just be a nice guy off the ice. They have to actually do the job and be respected on the ice.” — Dave Tippett
It’s clear something’s been wrong in Arizona through the first half of the season (and you could replace “something” with “lots of things.”) Mike Smith has been a nightmare in goal, the players have seemingly abandoned Tippett’s defensive approach and GM Don Maloney’s already played his shake-it-up card when, in the hours following an ugly loss to L.A. in December, he waived Kyle Chipchura, traded Rob Klinkhammer and sent David Schlemko to the minors.
But those were all peripheral moves that affected fringe guys, not core ones. With these recent quotes about leadership issues and underachieving veterans, you have to wonder what’s next.
Antoine Vermette, as we’ve documented thoroughly, could be on the move. Keith Yandle has been on the block for ages and could be again as we draw closer to the March trade deadline, and the Coyotes went out of their way to address Doan rumors via Twitter last week (which many saw as a “you doth protest too much” moment.)
Other veterans could be on the block as well. Martin Erat, David Moss and Zbynek Michalek are all on the wrong side of 30 and UFAs at season’s end; next year, Doan and Yandle are up. With Arizona sitting 13th in the Western Conference and primed to miss the playoffs for a third straight year, the question has to be asked: Is now the time to break up the core?
Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette took a pass from Blues’ forward Alex Steen near the mouth area and had to leave briefly for repairs.
He did return later in the period.
Arizona is already without Martin Hanzal with what the team is calling an upper body injury.
Arizona Coyotes’ forward Martin Hanzal isn’t in the lineup tonight against the St. Louis Blues due to an upper body injury the club announced just prior to puck drop.
According to Sarah McLellan of The Arizona Republic, Hanzal has been sick of late.
The 27-year-old has seven goals and 22 points in 31 games this season.
Following the Coyotes 3-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night, GM Don Maloney went into the Arizona dressing room, which he rarely does post-game, to have conversation with his players.
According to hockey insider Bob McKenzie, Maloney threatened his players, who currently have limited no-trade clauses, and told them he would seek trades.
Maloney then followed up with the player’s agents seeking a list of teams they would be willing to waive their no-trade clause for.
Players who have reportedly garnered interest from other teams include Keith Yandle, Antoine Vermette, Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal.
Per CapGkeek, players with some form of a no-trade clause in their contract include David Moss, Martin Erat, Zbynek Michalek and Mike Smith.
At that point in the schedule, Arizona had won just one of six games. The Coyotes split a recent trip to Alberta winning in Edmonton and then losing again to the Flames.
Arizona plays host to the L.A. Kings tonight.