Coyotes Become Buyers

The Arizona Coyotes re-started what was a failed rebuild shortly after GM Bill Armstrong took over and absolutely stockpiled future draft assets after coming to that decision. Now it seems there is a priority shift away from acquiring more draft assets to sending some out to acquire current players.

The Coyotes are coming off acquiring Sean Durzi from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2024 second round pick, and odds are, they aren’t done yet.

Coyotes trove of assets

The Coyotes have 22 picks in the first three rounds over the next three drafts. While I can’t imagine any first-rounders getting moved, that still leaves them plenty of trade ammo while also keeping the building through the draft strategy. They will not be using all those picks themselves; even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to sign them all to deals. It makes sense to move future second and third-rounders to surround their top prospects and young players with better talent to help their development.

How it may affect the Timeline

In all likelihood, it doesn’t. This is just the natural second step of any rebuild that teams take part in. This team is not in the situation to go after the biggest names, and going after those types of players may cause the team to get caught being stuck in the mediocre middle vs. breaking past that and entering true contenders status that is the goal. But going after 2-3 young players to add to the core while not selling core players off and not taking bad/hurt contracts is the teaming taking the steps to put themselves in the position to go after the biggest names when it’s time.

Expectations

One thing to keep in mind as the team moves to this phase, it doesn’t necessarily mean the team’s record improves. We saw last year after the Columbus Blue Jackets brought Johnny Gaudreau to their team, the New Jersey Devils after bringing in Hamilton and countless others where the rebuilding team adds and doesn’t improve. It always may happen, but remember, development doesn’t always follow a straight line. But this does mean that the “tank” is over, and this team is trying to piece together a competitive one instead of stacking losses and trying to finish as high in the draft as they can. The Coyotes, after making this decision, will be more competitive with a better on-ice product and more consistent play; it just may not show quite yet in the standings.

Potential Options

There should be plenty of young players who fit this role, but I have one in mind specifically.

Victor Olofsson

Victor Olofsson Stats

The Sabres are in a position they need to make some spots for their plethora of young prospects, and Olofsson, due to his 4.75 million cap hit and defensive issues, maybe the odd man out. Despite his defensive shortcomings, his 28 goals scored last season would’ve been the second-highest mark on the Coyotes last year. Also would be flippable at the trade deadline should they choose to add a different name in his role next season.

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