Craig Custance of ESPN polled nine NHL agents on what teams are the least popular trade destinations, with the Arizona Coyotes coming in at fourth in the rankings.
This is the third year Custance has created the list. In the previous two seasons, the Coyotes fell under the “receiving votes” section. He constructs it by surveying agents about what teams appear most frequently on players’ no-trade lists.
The reason for the Coyotes slow climb up the list is clear in the eyes of agents.
The Coyotes are creeping up this list after flirting on the fringes of it the past couple years. There’s an easy reason why. The arena situation is once again up in the air. Players like stability. They want to know where they can set up shop in an area, especially guys with families. They don’t want to have to worry at all about relocation.
“A lot of it comes down to lifestyle,” said an agent.
The Coyotes would actually become a destination if they could ever get their arena in the right spot and start winning consistently. Players like it there. Players like Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette have left and returned. It’s just the instability that is unattractive to those outside of Arizona.
While agents say players seem to be noticing the instability of the arena situation, Coyotes general manager John Chayka has not seen it come up often.
“To be honest with you, it’s never come up in any type of negotiation I’ve had,” Chayka said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM in March. “There’s a lot of emphasis placed on, you know, the state of the team, our young players, where we are going with things and the lifestyle down here.”
The Coyotes have been fighting to get a new home in the Valley outside of Gila River Arena in Glendale, but have been unsuccessful. In March, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sent a letter to the state legislature, stating unequivocally that the Coyotes cannot continue to play in Glendale.