With making the playoffs still a long shot, the Arizona Coyotes should consider being sellers rather than buyers at the upcoming trade deadline.
The Arizona Coyotes currently sit six points outside of the final wildcard place, having lost five consecutive games before snapping their skid in a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.
The string of losses has dampened the Coyotes’ hopes of making the playoffs, with a strong series of games prior to the NHL All-Star break.
Rick Tocchet‘s team have had a largely inconsistent season so far, with injuries preventing the team from playing at full strength since even before the 2018/19 campaign began.
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Reaching the playoffs would be a spectacular accomplishment for the organisation, who have failed to make the post-season for the past six seasons.
The biggest concern with this accomplishment, however, is that it would be almost an impossible task for the team to venture beyond the first round – raising the question of whether or not the team should really ‘go for it’ when it comes to making roster changes prior to the final regular season stretch.
Many teams that are knocking on the door of the playoffs, or are legitimate contenders, will be looking to make moves at the trade deadline to acquire players that can help tip them over the edge and reach their potential.
For the Arizona Coyotes, however, this might be a gamble not worth taking if their form continues to be inconsistent.
General manager John Chayka, who will be the most important person for the organisation at the deadline, will have some tough decisions to make regarding the Coyotes’ immediate and near future.
If Tocchet has the team putting up consistent victories and within one or two points of the wildcard spots, perhaps a trade would make sense.
However, if the team remains around the position they are currently in, it may be a smarter move for the Arizona Coyotes to become sellers at the deadline.
Being sellers could net the organisation some pieces, particularly draft picks, that could help them build for strong campaigns in 2019/20 and 2020/21.
The next two draft classes have some stud prospects in the form of Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere and if the Coyotes find themselves finishing the season close to the bottom, it could pay off with a high draft pick that could help the team land a top prospect to add to a growing pool of their own.
This may also not be such a stretch either, with the Coyotes just two points away from last place in the Western Conference – currently occupied by the Anaheim Ducks with 51 points (the Coyotes have just 53).
Players such as Richard Panik may be on the trading block ahead of the deadline and could fetch a decent price from a contender look to add to their roster.
The Coyotes have a number of free agents this summer, with the majority of them being RFAs, and currently only have around $13 million next season to pay them.
If the Coyotes shed some players on expiring contracts, and some that have a bit more term left, then they could look to free up contract slots, some cap and acquire some pieces that will help them build for the long term.
The Arizona Coyotes have started to draft well in recent seasons and may be better off acquiring more picks to help the team in 2019/20 – having a healthier team making a legitimate challenge for the playoffs after such an injury-riddled campaign.
What do you think Coyotes fans? Should the team look to ‘go for it’ with the playoffs this season or should they accept they might not make it and pile up some pieces that can help the team in the long-run? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!