Quiet Coyotes deadline day? Doan unlikely to move; Vrbata uncertain
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Trade deadline day could be a quiet day for the Coyotes.
The two players everyone expected to be dealt were dealt early when defenseman Michael Stone went to Calgary on Feb. 20 and center Martin Hanzal went to Minnesota on Sunday, along with right winger Ryan White.
With two days left until the Wednesday deadline, multiple sources told Arizona Sports that captain Shane Doan is unlikely to move because the only teams that have expressed interest in him are either teams fighting for a playoff spot or contenders that view him as a 13th or 14th forward, meaning he could be a healthy scratch at times during the playoffs.
Doan, 40, is not interested in either of those situations, preferring to play a regular role for a Cup contender. After Sunday’s Hanzal trade and come-from-behind win over Buffalo, Doan said “nothing has really changed for me.”
The Coyotes have neither asked Doan to waive his no-movement clause nor expressed any desire to trade him.
“I’ve had discussions with Shane,” Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said. “He suggested to me that he signed here to be a Coyote and he’s only ever played here and that’s where he wants to finish his career.
“Having said that… there’s some bits of thought toward what would that better opportunity look like with a potential last year of his career, to take a run at a Stanley Cup. I think that’s natural for him to have some of those thoughts. He hasn’t come to me and said, ‘Look, I want to pursue other opportunities.’ And that’s where we’re at today.”
Unless something changes, Sunday’s home game at Gila River Arena was not the last for Doan, who is the Jets-Coyotes franchise leader in games played (1,527), points (965) goals (401), assists (564), power-play goals (127), game-winning goals (69) and shots (currently 3,918).
The picture is murkier for right winger Radim Vrbata, the only other Coyote on an expiring contract that allows him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Beyond his base salary of $1 million, Vrbata has a complicated contract with playoff bonuses worth up $1.25 million that the new team would incur, and could count against their cap next season. On the other hand, Vrbata has been remarkably productive since signing a one-year deal with the Coyotes in the summer. He could be attractive.
The Boston Bruins are among teams looking for a scoring winger, and the Boston Globe speculated that Vrbata would fit in well with fellow Czechs David Krejci and David Pastrnak, and Slovaks Zdeno Chara and Peter Cehlarik.
“I won’t comment on any players,” Boston GM Don Sweeney told the Globe, when asked specifically about Vrbata. “Without getting myself in trouble . . . from a depth perspective and a scoring perspective, those are the types of players that would fit in up and down the lineup to be able to offer depth and scoring for sure.”
Vrbata leads the team in assists (31) and points (46), he is on a nine-game points streak (four goals, 11 points), he reached 600 career points on Sunday and the Coyotes like the leadership and work ethic he has displayed to a young core.
“He’s had a great season,” coach Dave Tippett said. “He wasn’t sure how things were going to go; we weren’t sure how things were going to go. He’s come in and played very well. It’s a real credit to him. He’s just a consummate pro. He’s a real smart player and a real good pro that shows up and does his job every night.”
Vrbata said Sunday that he hasn’t heard anything about a potential trade from Chayka, Tippett or his agent, Rich Evans. If the Coyotes do deal him, he would be willing to return next season to provide leadership that might become more important if Doan retires, but his preference is to stay.
“That’s what I’ve said all along,” Vrbata, 35, said. “That’s why I signed here. Even if this is the last season for me then I would like to finish it here. Tip knows how to use me, I like to play his style of game and that’s been the case.”
While the Coyotes are not looking to move right winger Anthony Duclair or players with term remaining on their contract, Chayka did not rule out the possibility of more deals.
“We’ve got a few days here,” he said. “I’m open to adding, subtracting, lateral moves, whatever to make our team better and continue to grow.”
Coyotes at Bruins
When: 5 p.m., Tuesday
Where: TD Garden, Boston
TV: FOX Sports Arizona Plus
Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Records: Coyotes — 22-32-7. Bruins — 32-24-6.
Season series: Bruins lead, 1-0.
Injury report: Coyotes — C Alex Burmistrov (upper body) is day to day and accompanied the team on its trip. C Brad Richardson (broken right tibia and fibula) is on injured reserve. Bruins — None.
Scouting the Bruins: Boston is 6-1 since firing coach Claude Julien and inserting Bruce Cassidy. Entering play Monday the Bruins were in third place in the Atlantic Division, six points behind first-place Montreal but just one point ahead the Eastern Conference’s second wild card team (Toronto) and two points ahead of the New York Islanders, who are not in a playoff position … LW Brad Marchand leads the team with 27 goals and 64 points. He is fifth in the NHL in points. … Boston boasts the second-ranked penalty-killing unit in the NHL at 85.9 percent and the Bruins are the league’s best PK unit at home (88.1 percent).
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