Coyotes Net Underwhelming Return for Stecher

After minor Troy Stecher trade, time is ticking on the Arizona Coyotes ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline.

Troy Stecher
Troy Stecher / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Trade activity has been fast and furious across the league in the days leading up to today's NHL Trade Deadline. No fewer than 25 teams have gotten involved in deals over the past week, furthering their own franchise direction by either adding talent in preparation for a playoff push or recouping future assets for current players in anticipation of a rebuild.

The Arizona Coyotes are one of those 25 clubs, although barely. On Thursday, they sent depth defenseman and pending free agent Troy Stecher to the Edmonton Oilers, along with a 2024 seventh-round pick, in exchange for the Oilers' 2027 fourth-rounder. Essentially, they sacrificed Stecher to move up three rounds to a draft slot that still won't be close to the top-100 and won't convey for more than three years.

Troy Stecher
Troy Stecher / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

This actually marks the third consecutive deadline during which Stecher has been moved, all for underwhelming returns. In 2022, he was shipped from Detroit to the Los Angeles Kings for a seventh-round pick. Last year, the Coyotes moved him to the Calgary Flames as part of the Ritchie brothers deal, packaging him with Nick Ritchie in exchange for Brett Ritchie and Connor Mackey. Ritchie managed just two goals and five points in 16 games with Arizona and has since joined the KHL, while Mackey was held to a goal and three assists in 20 games and has played just one game this season (for the New York Rangers).

Even as other depth defensemen such as Joel Edmundson net third- and fifth-rounders, Stecher only produced a modest return. Now the Coyotes and GM Bill Armstrong have mere hours to make the most of their remaining trade assets.

Arizona's relative lack of activity could, however, be by design. Armstrong is reportedly content to wait out the majority of the moves and take advantage of desperate organizations in the 11th hour. At press time, Tyler Toffoli had been shipped off to Winnipeg, leaving Coyotes veterans Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba as the top two available names on the TSN Trade Bait Board.

Armstrong's strategy to wait out the playoff contenders and potentially fuel desperation could ultimately pay off. But with five pending unrestricted free agents on the roster (not including the injured reserve trio of Jakub Voracek, Bryan Little and Travis Boyd), it's also a risky one. If these players wind up being lost for nothing in the off-season rather than being converted into draft capital, it will be a wasted opportunity for an organization who needs more hope for the future.