GLENDALE — The Coyotes added a puck-moving, right-handed defenseman to the mix on Wednesday by acquiring Stefan Elliott from the Colorado Avalanche in a trade for defenseman Brandon Gormley, a lefty.
Elliott, 24, is an offensive-minded blueliner who welcomes a fresh start with a new team. The Avalanche selected him 49th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, but he played only 63 games for Colorado since breaking into the NHL in 2011-12 and only six in the past two seasons.
"I’m really excited," Elliott said. "This should be a great opportunity for me to show everybody what I can bring to the table."
Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said he expects Elliott to be on the opening night roster as the seventh defenseman.
"I spent a lot of time mulling this trade over," Maloney said. "He and Brandon Gormley are very similar in that they've yet to establish themselves as an NHL player. We just thought a change of scenery would be good for both and looking at our second power-play unit we thought we could use somebody with Stefan's playmaking abilities. We've all watched video of him and defending in his own end has always been the area that he has to get better in. But I think his puck skill and his ability to move the puck up the ice are strengths of his and that's why we felt this was a good move for us."
Playing for Lake Erie last season, Elliott co-led American Hockey League defensemen in goals with 19 and ranked ninth with 40 points in 64 games. Thirteen of his 19 goals were power-play goals and he took 189 shots – the second most on the team. At mid-season he was selected to play in the AHL All-Star Game for the Western Conference.
His approach to the game:
|Stefan Elliott. Photo by Getty Images. |
"I like to bring some offense from the back end and I’m more dependable in the defensive zone than a lot of people say," said Elliott, who has scored six NHL goals, including one in his League debut on Nov. 26, 2011. "Even as an offensive guy you still have to pick and choose your spots. You can’t just be running around everywhere. You have to play with some responsibility over the ice and just look to pick your spots and jump up when you can."
Elliott briefly spoke with Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett after the trade.
"They both told me they’re excited to see what I can bring and excited to help me become a better player," Elliott said. "That sounds good to me."
Elliott said he doesn’t expect to see any familiar faces when he walks into Gila River Arena on the first day of training camp.
"Everyone is pretty comfortable with each other around hockey teams and it’s pretty easy to make friends so I’m not too worried about not knowing anybody," said Elliott, who is expected to sign a contract soon.
Elliott will wear sweater No. 45 with the Coyotes. He'll become only the seventh player to wear that number in franchise history.