Arizona Coyotes Shouldn’t Be Sellers Come Trade Deadline Time

Jan 16, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes centre Martin Hanzal (11) is seen out on the ice as they play against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 16, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes centre Martin Hanzal (11) is seen out on the ice as they play against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Arizona Coyotes have been the center of trade speculation for the last half-dozen seasons, but maybe the team should alter their approach if they want to get better.

The Arizona Coyotes have been much improved over their last 15 games.

They’ve begun playing competitively in most of their affairs and showing a spirit that they visibly never had to start the season.

This team is not as bad as many analysts and the standings say, but take that with a grain of salt because they still are in last place in the Pacific.

None the less, tripping headfirst down a mountain sunk this season from the start for the Coyotes and as the trade deadline approaches, some big decisions are bound to be made.

Should the team move top center Martin Hanzal?

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Should they consider moving multi-time Coyote Radim Vrbata? Should the team be willing to move the only captain they’ve known since the early 2000’s in Shane Doan?

My answer? No.

Many feel that the traditional route of a rebuilding team is to move expiring contract players at the deadline to contenders. You get prospects and picks in the hope that those pieces turn over in a few years. But here’s the thing: none of those pieces are guaranteed to be NHL-caliber players and the piece you would be giving up is.

Martin Hanzal is a critical part of the team’s recent success, and moving him at the deadline would sink the Coyotes to new lows in terms of skill up the middle.

Moreover, moving Hanzal will not make the Coyotes more likely candidates for the #1 overall pick.

They are more than a dozen points ahead of the NHL-worst Avalanche and 9 points back of the next closest team ahead.

Instead of moving Hanzal, the Arizona Coyotes should resign him.

His presence would continue to protect the talent below him, which would take the pressure off of players like Christian Dvorak and Dylan Strome from having to jump to top-line duties as young players next season.

Arizona Coyotes
Arizona Coyotes /

Arizona Coyotes

In another scenario, Radim Vrbata has been the top scorer for the Coyotes this season.

Vrbata, who has said he loves being in Arizona, came back to a team last offseason which was bound to miss the playoffs instead of seeking a contender at the tail-end of his career. So why move him now? He won’t return more than a mid-level draft pick and unless he wants to go, why switch a true NHL player who is producing for a level of draft pick that often times never produces a player who plays a game in the league?

And as for Doan, the team should not be the ones asking him to waive his no-move clause. It would be wrong to even do that, considering what he has done for this team. The only circumstance in which Shane Doan should be in trade talks is if Shane Doan asked for it.

Period.

The Arizona Coyotes have many of the pieces to have success in the not so distant future.

They will have a top four pick in the coming draft, have a future on defense and up front and with Mike Smith‘s resurgence in net, a decent backstop.

Moving players like Hanzal and Vrbata will only perpetuate the rebuilding process, and weaken the young player’s development as they’re forced to play hard minutes ahead of schedule.

John Chayka has been a non-traditional GM.

He was bold in the offseason by acquiring Alex Goligoski‘s rights and signing him.

He has been aggressive with improving the team through waiver or low level trades during the season such as Peter Holland and Alexander Burmistrov.

Next: Max Domi Igniting The Coyotes' Recent Success

In the midst of this new turn in Coyotes leadership, Chayka should plot out a new strategy for rebuilding and depart from traditional norms.

It’s risky given that some of these players simply may not resign, but the reward is that it could catapult this team in a far more successful direction as the youth grows at the NHL-level while being flanked and mentored by their most talented teammates.