Arizona Coyotes' Types of Past Deadline Deals

As the Arizona Coyotes shift firmly into 'seller' mode, let's look back at the approaches GM Bill Armstrong has taken in bolstering the club's future at the trade deadline.

Jakob Chychrun
Jakob Chychrun / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

Winless in 13 straight, the once-promising season of the Arizona Coyotes has gone down the drain and their direction is clear heading into the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline. They are sellers, period.

Identifying possible trade candidates may be as simple as looking at their list of pending unrestricted free agents. Jason Zucker, Matt Dumba and Troy Stecher could all be bound for new homes even before their seek out their next contract this summer.

Then again, the Coyotes have long demonstrated a willingness to get creative with deadline deals, weaponizing their cap space to absorb contracts and serve as the third party to facilitate trades in exchange for future assets. Let's look at their recent noteworthy history at the deadline through the various types of trades they've made for an early look at what we might expect over the next week or so.

Player Acquisitions

To Arizona

To Minnesota

Jack McBain

2022 Second-Round Pick (Hunter Haight)

The only true player acquisition made by the Coyotes in recent deadline history saw them sacrifice one of their three 2022 second-round picks to land Jack McBain. Now the team's fourth-line center, the 24-year-old has tapered off a bit after last year's 12-goal breakthrough, but has brought size and physicality to a tough fourth line with Liam O'Brien and Michael Carcone.

Arizona Coyotes v Colorado Avalanche
Jack McBain / Tyler Schank/Clarkson Creative/GettyImages

Haight, meanwhile, has also leveled off somewhat in his second year with the OHL's Saginaw Spirit. After scoring 51 points in 42 games last season, he remains a point-per-game scorer with 57 points in as many games this year. Considering McBain has already established himself in the NHL, Arizona did well to land a player who, while still young, was more league-ready and more of a sure thing.

Players-for-Futures Trades

To Arizona

To Ottawa

2023 First-Round Pick (Daniil But)

Jakob Chychrun

2024 Second-Round Pick

2026 Second-Round Pick

A major trade chip and a long-time focus of the trade rumor mill, Jakob Chychrun was finally dealt at last year's deadline and the Coyotes did well to get some valuable draft assets back in exchange for the talented defender. Daniil But just turned 19 and is already making a name for himself with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the KHL. On top of using the No. 12 pick in last summer's draft on the promising Russian winger, Arizona is still waiting on two more picks to convey.

On the other end of the trade spectrum, the Ottawa Senators are probably facing some buyer's remorse. Chychrun hasn't been bad (nine goals and 30 points in 57 games), but he's failed to help the team take their anticipated step forward toward playoff contention. With one more year to go before hitting unrestricted free agency, the 25-year-old defenseman finds his name back in trade rumors yet again.

To Arizona

To Edmonton

Michael Kesselring

Nick Bjugstad

2023 Third-Round Pick (Vadim Moroz)

Cam Dineen

There must be something about that desert air. Despite Arizona's less than stellar track record in recent years, both Stecher and Nick Bjugstad have been shipped out by the Coyotes, only to return to the team as free agents in the off-season.

Nick Bjugstad
Nick Bjugstad / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The trade of Bjugstad at last year's deadline netted the 'Yotes Michael Kesselring and the third-round draft choice they used to select Vadim Moroz. Kesselring currently ranks as the club's third-leading scorer on the blue line in his first full NHL season, while the 20-year-old Moroz is putting together a respectable 11-goal, 22-point season for Minsk Dynamo in the KHL. Meanwhile, Bjugstad potted four regular season goals and three playoff goals for the Edmonton Oilers before returning to the fold on a two-year contract.

To Arizona

To Washington

2023 Third-Round Pick (Noel Nordh)

Johan Larsson

To Arizona

To Dallas

2023 Third-Round Pick (Jiri Felcman)

Scott Wedgewood

To Arizona

To Carolina

2026 Third-Round Pick

Shayne Gostisbehere

We can lump these three similarly structured trades together, with each seeing Arizona part with a pending free agent in exchange for a third-round draft choice. No departed played amounted to much with their new team (although you could argue that Armstrong undersold on Shayne Gostisbehere given the numbers he had produced with the Coyotes) and it remains to be seen what the returning draft picks and prospects will offer.

In one fun bit of irony, Johan Larsson and Noel Nordh, two Swedes who were essentially traded for one another, are now teammates as part of Brynas IF of the Swedish Hockey League.

Taking on Contracts in Exchange for Future Assets

To Arizona

To Winnipeg

Bryan Little

2022 Fourth-Round Pick (Garrett Brown)

Nathan Smith

At the 2022 trade deadline, the Coyotes took on the final two-plus years and roughly $11 million on the contract of injured Winnipeg Jet Bryan Little in order to land Minnesota State scoring standout Nathan Smith. After re-signing in Arizona that following summer, Smith has bounced between the NHL and AHL while largely struggling to find his scoring touch.

As part of the trade, the Jets landed a fourth-round pick, which they used to take defenseman Garrett Brown. Now at the University of Denver, Brown has failed to accomplish much of note and doesn't look to have an NHL career ahead of him. For Winnipeg, though, unloading Little's contract was the primary focus.

To Arizona

To Columbus

Jakub Voracek

Jon Gillies

2023 Sixth-Round Pick (Samu Bau)

This is one of those trades that makes it so frustrating to be a Coyotes' fan at times. Given the minimal value of the other assets involved (apologies, Finnish league depth forward Samu Bau and journeyman goaltender Jon Gillies), this trade was clearly just about using Jakub Voracek's $8.25 million contract to get to the cap floor and save ownership money thanks to injury insurance.

The club's injury reserve list currently includes once-notable names like Voracek, Little and Shea Weber, which only serves to highlight how much penny-pinching surrounds the organization.

To Arizona

To Chicago

To New York

2025 Third-Round Pick

Vili Saarijarvi

Patrick Kane

Andy Welinski

Cooper Zech

2023 Second-Round Pick (Martin Misiak)

2025 Fourth-Round Pick

Don't be confused by the size of this deal or by the starry presence of Patrick Kane. From Arizona's standpoint, this was simply a matter of picking up a 2025 third-round pick at the cost of absorbing half of Kane's $10.5 million contract while also throwing in low level prospect Vili Saarijarvi.

So there you have it. The trade deadline has been an active time for the franchise in recent years. But while some viable future assets have been collected (see the Chychrun trade), the main focus in many of these deals has been on the bottom line. Unfortunately, with little certainty over the future of the organization, this focus seems likely to continue.