Just like that, things got really busy in the desert. The Coyotes went full fire-sale and trades were happening left and right. After the blockbuster deals of Ghost and Chychrun, Arizona kept at it making three more moves before the 3 PM deadline Friday. First was a trade with Columbus, where the Coyotes obtained injured forward Jakub Voracek and a 2023 sixth-round pick for AHL goalie Jon Gillies. Next up, the Oilers, and center Nick Bjugstad. Edmonton lands Bjugstad, Arizona gets a 2023 third-round pick, and they swapped defensive prospects as well. As part of the trade, the Coyotes got Michael Kesselring and sent Cam Dineen to the Oilers. Further, they retained 50% of Bjugstad’s salary.
The final deal of the deadline was an odd one, featuring a straight four-player trade with Calgary. The Ritchie brothers were swapped, and Troy Stecher was exchanged for Connor Mackey. Grades and analysis are below:
Jakub Voracek Trade:
The Blue Jackets were in a tough spot with Jakub Voracek, who suffered a career-threatening concussion back in November. He has quite possibly played his last game, and they would have been on the hook for an $8,250,063 cap hit this year and next per Spotrac. This move gives them a ton of flexibility for next offseason, and the hit was a minimal sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. Plus they got an AHL goalie back in return.
Assuming Voracek does not resume his career, this trade was to ensure the Coyotes meet the salary cap floor next season. For how steep the cap hit is, the return seems light. For half the cap hit, they got three picks and two good seasons out of Ghostisbehere. For 25% of Patrick Kane’s salary, they received a third-round pick, and for Shea Weber, a fifth-round pick. However, the move makes sense for what the team wishes to accomplish.
Nick Bjugstad Trade:
The Oilers get a solid player to bolster their upcoming push for the playoffs. Bjugstad was having a good year in the desert and was one of the players who seemed to be in on every play. He should fill out their bottom six nicely and elevate their PK unit.
A third-round pick in this year’s draft is a great return for Bjugstad. The prospect swap doesn’t move the needle at all, but adding another early-round pick in the draft was a good move given they are in full-on tank mode now.
Ritchie Brothers Trade:
Both Teams: D
I have no idea what to make of this trade. It just seems like a move to make a move. Neither team gets better, no substantial salary was moved, and no prospects or picks were exchanged. I don’t see any real impact coming out of this one for either side.