Welcome back for part two. You can read part one of my Christmas wish-list for buyers and sellers article here.
And, Yikes! What a week it has been. I wish I were referring to a couple wild and crazy trades or huge signings but I'm not. More games have been cancelled then played the past few days. Now we head into an extended pause over the holidays. I'm glad I don't have to explain potential implications of this on scheduling.
I see no reason to lead with a lot of preamble so, let’s jump right in.
Arizona Coyotes – 29 Games Played, 14 Points
Wishlist: Sell everything – picks, prospects and young players desired.
You know that saying, 'if it's not nailed down…' – Expect that to be the philosophy of Bill Armstrong the first few months of 2022.
The only player they should not trade is Jacob Chychrun. He seems to be the only sure fire building block this team has identified. Yet, he's not nailed down either. Like Chychrun, Clayton Keller is not far removed from this untouchable list. It will take premium packages to move either. Beyond these two, anything goes.
With fourteen unrestricted free agents it's a no-brainer they will be busy. Let's start with their biggest fish. We can hate on him all you want but he was a catalyst in Pittsburgh winning back to back Stanley Cups. He was even given serious Conn Smythe consideration in both Cup runs, Phil Kessel.
His cap hit with Arizona this year is $6.8M but only $1M real salary. This is the one player they would be willing to retain 50 percent of salary. At $3.4M he becomes a well priced top six winger, or an incredibly dangerous third line winger that will create matchup havoc for opponents. The line for his services is going to be long. Arizona should receive a first rounder and more if they play their cards right. If they don't get a first, I expect multiple pieces in a larger package.
For our needs, he still carries a $8M cap hit until the end of the year and will be significantly cheaper to acquire. Kessel performs when it counts the most. His offensive production should jump when he is traded. I also expect Kessel to sign next year for close to 50 percent less for 2022-23 with a contender. There could be some hidden value moving forward with a plummeting salary.
Expect Arizona to ship out Dmitri Jaskin, Ryan Dzingel as well. They’ll also shop