Arizona Coyotes Trade Deadline Candidates to Be Moved

Zeroing in on several Arizona Coyotes players rumored to be on the trade block ahead of Friday's NHL Trade Deadline.
Matt Dumba, Arizona Coyotes
Matt Dumba, Arizona Coyotes / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The silver lining in the Arizona Coyotes' recent 13-game winless streak was that it gave GM Bill Armstrong a clear direction heading into Friday's trade deadline. Despite what some supposed experts were pushing for mere weeks ago, Arizona's disastrous February slide took the team firmly out of the Western Conference playoff picture and has clearly resigned them to another year of looking to the future.

With the Coyotes' status as sellers firmly established, names of possible trade candidates to pique the interest of playoff-bound teams has begun to emerge on the rumor mill. Let's take a look at which Coyotes players might be available, and what kind of return Arizona fans can expect.

Matt Dumba

The Coyotes will need to employ someone to man the blue line for them next season, with no defenseman apart from the unlikely-to-ever-play-again Shea Weber under contract for next season. Just don't expect that someone to be Matt Dumba.

Dumba is having a tough season in the desert (four goals, nine points and a -14 plus/minus rating), but could still entice teams given the scarcity of right-shot defensemen on the market. The physical nature of his game and his ability to log significant ice time (he's averaged 20:10 this season) mean that the 29-year-old should carry value that extends beyond his offensive totals. While a first-round pick may be a hard ask, a second-rounder or a picks/prospects package might work.

Jason Zucker

Jason Zucker wouldn't likely be at the top of anyone's trade deadline wish list, but he could represent a viable alternative for teams that suffer from sticker shock when they check in on upper-tier wingers like Jake Guentzel and Vladimir Tarasenko. The 32-year-old has potted as many as 33 goals and scored 27 as recently as last season, but he probably isn't any contender's idea of a top-six wing.

Jason Zucker
Jason Zucker / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

That being said, Zucker offers the type of grit and toughness that plays well in the postseason. If a club like the Vegas Golden Knights don't want to pay the going rate for a high-end rental player, the former Pittsburgh Penguin would represent a potential soft landing. Depending on how the market looks when the top guys are off the board, he could fetch a third-round pick or a collection of second-tier future assets.

Alex Kerfoot

While we're on the subject of off-season free agent signings who could offer a worthwhile trade return, Alex Kerfoot has been an interesting name to surface in the rumor mill in recent weeks. While his offensive totals are unlikely to wow prospective buyers (10 goals, 35 points), the 29-year-old has proven his value as a multifaceted contributor who can deliver speed and two-way play at the center position.

Perhaps the biggest boost to Kerfoot's trade value, however, stems from the fact that he isn't a rental. Any acquiring team would land a versatile forward who can center any line for not just the rest of this season, but the next one as well. The Colorado Avalanche have been mentioned as a potentially interested party, which would make sense after his two productive debut seasons were spent with the Avs.

Nick Bjugstad

Much of what was just written about Kerfoot applies to Nick Bjugstad, too. Another center with one more year left on his contract, the 31-year-old has posted similar offensive numbers (13 goals, 31 points) while bringing a rather different style of play to the bottom-six. Bringing more size (6'6") and physical play than Kerfoot, he represents more of a traditional depth center, providing grit and strong faceoff abilities.

Nick Bjugstad
Nick Bjugstad / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Projecting a deadline return for Bjugstad shouldn't be too difficult for the Coyotes, as it was just a year ago that they last traded the Minnesota native to the Edmonton Oilers. Paired with Cam Dineen, he helped net Arizona a third-round pick and standout rookie rearguard Michael Kesselring before coming back into the fold this past summer. That package may be even stronger this time around with Bjugstad signed for an added year.

Troy Stecher / Josh Brown / Travis Dermott

I've lumped all three of Troy Stecher, Josh Brown and Travis Dermott together here given the similarity of their profiles. All three are defensemen that can play the right side and carry affordable contracts as they head into free agency. None, however, have demonstrated that they can be relied upon for anything more than depth roles on the blue line.

As such, this trio should only be expected to return later-round picks back to Arizona. Still, the Coyotes recent draft history includes late hits on players like Adin Hill, Conor Garland, Michael Bunting and, most recently, Matias Maccelli. There's nothing wrong with continuing to deepen the farm system, especially when it pays off every now and then.

As it stands, the Coyotes could already have as many as seven picks within the top-100 of this summer's NHL Entry Draft. Depending on what Armstrong can manage in the next few days, that number could get even higher.