This has been a regrettable season for the Arizona Coyotes. Currently, the team is battling with Buffalo and Edmonton for the NHL’s worst record.
It’s because of this year’s downfall the team has decided to start a rebuild of the roster, and the recent trade of Keith Yandle has jump-started their plans.
Keith Yandle could still be considered a building block of the franchise. The 28-year-old is one of the best defensemen in hockey. However, a hefty contract and high interest amongst NHL teams have forced Arizona into a difficult situation.
Do they trade Yandle and acquire numerous assets to better it’s franchise? Or, do they keep Yandle and sign him to a long term deal? Apparently, Arizona felt the best option was to sell high on him.
The Coyotes found a buyer in the New York Rangers, and the deal for Yandle was put in place. The Rangers received Yandle and a fourth-round pick in 2016. The Coyotes were able to snag promising prospect Anthony Duclair, a lottery-protected 2016 first round pick and a second-round pick in 2015. The deal gives both teams what they need. New York gets that one final piece, and Arizona gets the assets they need to rebuild.
Arizona will be able to rely on Duclair for a long time. The 19-year-old forward saw brief action early in the season with the Rangers. He only played in 18 games but was surprisingly efficient with seven points. Duclair will fit in nicely with the Coyotes, but he isn’t the only young talent worth keeping an eye on in Arizona.
During the World Junior Champions Duclair was paired on a line with fellow Coyote prospect, Max Domi, whom is one of the team’s top talents. The duo lead the Canadian team to a gold medal. Domi was able to record 10 points during the seven games, while Duclair recorded eight. Arizona General Manager Don Maloney must have came away impressed by the chemistry the two had shown, and now the duo can recapture that magic in Arizona.
While the combination of Duclair and Domi won’t likely be seen this season, the team has a nice set of stars to build around. In addition, with one of the worst records in the NHL the Coyotes are set to receive a top draft pick for the upcoming draft, and the 2015 class is loaded.
Led by Conor McDavid, whom some say is the best prospect since Sydney Crosby, there really isn’t a bad player in the top-five. Some scouts go as far to say that anyone drafted in the top-10 this year would have been selected first overall during any other draft. The ability to add another impact young star to an already deep prospect pool is surely a luxury.
In addition to Domi and Duclair, the team boasts top goaltending prospects Mark Visentin and Louis Domingue, defenseman Brandon Gormley and Phillip Samuelsson and forward Henrik Samuelsson.
While the prospects and young stars will need time to blossom, the team has a solid future ahead of them. The season might be one to forget, but brighter days are ahead in Arizona.