Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett had a message for his team after a trio of trades saw talent head out with not much in the way of immediate help coming back.
“We were just going to keep pushing,” Tippett told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo of what he told his players. “We met with the captains and our veteran players and just said this was a situation that organizations throughout the league go through and you have to continue to try to build your organization moving forward.
“But you still keep an eye on what you’re doing right now, and we have the capability to win with our group and that was the message.”
The deals saw the Coyotes trade away Steve Sullivan, Matthew Lombardi and Raffi Torres. All three are veterans, all three will be free agents at the conclusion of the season, and all three were likely to move on from the Valley.
So, rather than risk losing them for nothing, the team felt it best to add a couple of draft picks and young player Brandon McMillan in separate deals.
There’s no use arguing the trades did not make the team better, because you don’t surrender talent for picks and improve. However, it’s tough to say the Coyotes are worse, because it is not like they gave up a considerable amount of production.
But while they did not go out and add anyone of note, either, the benefit to the deals is more ice time has opened up for other, younger players.
“We knew we had a couple of these players in the minors that we thought would be a good fit for us,” Tippett said, noting left wing Rob Klinkhammer and center Chris Brown. “We just felt that filling the holes with the people we had in the organization was the best route to go right now.”
If the (very) early results are any indication, the moves may have been for the best, as the Coyotes knocked off the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 Thursday night in Glendale. With 38 points, the team is two back of eighth-place St. Louis, which currently holds the final Western Conference playoff spot.
The Coyotes have one home game left before hitting the road for three straight. In all, seven of the team’s final 11 games will be played away from Jobing.com Arena.
“We know the pressure’s on us,” Tippett said. “The road records of teams throughout the league this year have been down a little bit, so we’ve got to find a way to turn those fortunes around.”