Following the team’s 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night, the Arizona Coyotes find themselves six points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and in a virtual no man’s land heading into the trade deadline.
General Manager Don Maloney thinks the outcomes of the next two road games against the Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers will have an effect on how the Coyotes operate near the Feb. 29 deadline.
“This is a very important time for us,” Maloney told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday morning. “We won a couple games last week, we dropped a tough one to St. Louis at home before we hit the road, now we’ve lost two close games on the road. Can we turn around and win a couple close ones prior to the deadline? That will certainly push us more in the acquisition mode. Our performance of late and what we need to do in the next few days will have a determination of what we do come the trade deadline.”
Arizona is 3-8 in the month of February, and has fallen to 10th in the Western Conference. As of Wednesday, Maloney does not expect to make a trade deadline move, but does think that improving the blue line is a point of emphasis for the team.
“I think long term it’s a need, but I don’t see anything happening by Monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern time,” Maloney said. “I think right now, we have the Mikkel Boedker situation we’re dealing with so we’re just trying to find if there’s anything out there that will give us a little push, an offensive spark without mortgaging the future.”
The Coyotes signed Boedker to a one-year deal back in July to avoid arbitration. The two sides were working on a new contract, but it was reported that Arizona pulled their contract offer Tuesday after Boedker insisted on making $6 million per year.
Boedker has been a popular name among trade rumors due to the contract situation. The left wing currently has 13 goals and 38 points on the season.
Even if the Coyotes stand pat at the trade deadline, the general manager thinks the team will still make a big-time addition for the stretch run.
“We’re still hoping that Mike Smith can get back at some point relatively soon, and maybe that’s a spark,” Maloney said.
Maloney wishes the team performed better in recent games, but that does not mean a move will be made just for the sake of it.
“Can we do something by Monday that gives us a little help, right now I can’t say, I don’t know,” he said. “There are some rental players out there that could maybe help, but it comes down to cost and ice time and who’s ice time we’re taking. It’s an ever-shifting puzzle, and I obviously wish we would’ve won a couple more games to stay a little closer to the pack, but all that being said, there’s still lots of hockey to be played.”