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Coyotes’ GM Chayka: Duclair trade about finding ‘coachable’ players

Arizona Coyotes left wing Anthony Duclair (10) skates away from Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) and Kris Letang (58) in the second period during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec 16, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
LISTEN: Rick Tocchet, Coyotes head coach

Anthony Duclair’s ongoing saga with the Arizona Coyotes’ coaching and management came to an abrupt end on Wednesday afternoon as the winger was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Coyotes GM John Chayka was poignant and brutally honest when joining Doug & Wolf on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station on Thursday, talking about the decision to move Duclair.

“My job is to build a team here and part of building a team is getting players that go out and work hard every night and are coachable,” Chayka said.

The disgruntled Duclair, who asked for a trade earlier this week, was moved to Chicago in exchange for Blackhawks forward Richard Panik and defenseman Laurent Dauphin. The Coyotes also transferred Adam Clendening to Chicago in the trade.

“That was my decision to make to try to move this team forward,” Chayka said. “This has been something that’s been going on for a few years now.”

Duclair’s playing time had been declining for the last two years under two different coaching staffs and led to a lot of frustration on both sides.

“It wasn’t just on our side. It was a situation where the player also wasn’t happy with the organization over two coaching stafffs with what he felt was a fair opportunity and what he needed to do to continue to get better,” Chayka said.

On his way out, Duclair took time to thank the fans and organization for his time in Arizona tweeting his appreciation.

The first-year GM Chayka’s mission in dealing Duclair was to get someone who could fit in the Coyotes’ system.

“We took our time, we were patient, we looked at a lot of different avenues and felt like this was the most value we were going to get,” Chayka said regarding the way the process of the trade unfolded.

The primary value the Coyotes received in return for Duclair is 26-year-old Slovakian forward Richard Panik.

“He’s a big fast player, he plays in straight lines and he gets to the net,” Chayka said. “We have an issue with being a perimeter team and not enough guys going to the net, and that’s something that Richard does pretty well.”

Panik’s best season in the NHL was last year with the Blackhawks scoring 22 goals and logging 22 assists. He has registered 107 career points in 300 career games over a span of six seasons and three different teams.

The Coyotes also get back Dauphin who was traded to Chicago in the offseason as part of the Niklas Hjalmarsson trade. Dauphin, a 22-year-old defenseman prospect, will report to the Tucson Roadrunners.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson named to All-Star team

Chayka also discussed the All-Star selection of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. It is the second All-Star nod for Ekman-Larsson despite ranking last in the league in +/-, 12 points behind rookie teammate Clayton Keller.

“Oliver is an All-Star talent, everyone knows that for a long time, he’s transitioning to a greater leadership role,” Chayka said. “There were games that stood out, in Toronto and others, where he basically won us the game.”

“It was well deserved in terms of what he does for the organization,” Chayka said, “I’m proud going to represent us and do it well.”

Friday night the Coyotes take on the Edmonton Oilers at Gila River Arena in Glendale, and it just so happens to be Oliver Ekman-Larsson bobblehead night. Listen to the game live on ESPN 620 AM at 7:00 p.m.

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