Coyotes Get Paltry Trade Deadline Returns on Zucker, Dumba

Buyers' market burns the Arizona Coyotes and GM Bill Armstrong in dealing Jason Zucker & Matt Dumba.

Jason Zucker
Jason Zucker / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

It's better than nothing - just not by much.

The Arizona Coyotes were busy on Friday at the trade deadline. However, they were forced to settle for less than stellar returns on a pair of key pending unrestricted free agents in Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba.

Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong agreed to send Zucker to the Nashville Predators for the meager return of a 2024 sixth-round pick. Nashville did not require Arizona to retain any salary in the deal, thus limiting the Coyotes' leverage in holding out for a better return. Shortly thereafter, Dumba was sent to the Tampa Bay Lightning, with a 2027 fifth-round pick coming the other way.

Zucker has recorded nine goals and 25 points in 51 games this year, a far cry from last season's surprising 27-goal campaign with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Meanwhile, Dumba registered four goals and 10 assists in 58 games.

Matt Dumba
Matt Dumba / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Even with both veterans playing at a level below their peak form, there was hope that the market would reap a decent return from playoff contenders looking for a boost. Armstrong was reportedly prepared to wait for the waning moments of the trade deadline rush, but ultimately failed to spark greater demand for either Zucker or Dumba.

It's impossible to know whether Armstrong misread the market and overplayed his hand, or if there was simply never going to be much interest in the two men. Nevertheless, a pick likely to hover somewhere around No. 200 over-all this summer and another mid-round selection that won't convey for several years is far from a satisfactory return for two supposed trade assets.