GLENDALE – For the second time in four days, the Coyotes on Tuesday made a trade they believe will help improve the roster from last season immediately.
|Boyd Gordon. Photo by Getty Images. |
Seeking depth at center, Arizona shipped winger Lauri Korpikoski to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for center Boyd Gordon, who played 123 games games for the Coyotes from 2011-13 before signing with Edmonton as a free agent.
Gordon, 31, is a proven commodity in Arizona and the Coyotes need his services.
"We know what we're getting in Boyd," General Manager Don Maloney said. "We know the different areas of the game he touches."
Gordon is a gritty center who blocks shots and who thrives in the face-off circles and on the penalty kill.
"We certainly have followed his game in Edmonton and I think he's the same player (as when he left)," Maloney said. "He's competitive, defensive-minded, good on face-offs."
Gordon said he enjoyed playing in Arizona and for Head Coach Dave Tippett.
"I know what (Tippett) expects from me and I think playing two seasons there maybe makes the transition easier than going to a different team and different coaching,” Gordon said.
He added, "It was tough to leave Phoenix. I heard the news today (about the trade) and I'm excited to come back."
Maloney has made it known the Coyotes will be looking to some rookies to fill roster spots in 2015-16. But he's also actively pursuing established NHL players, too.
Maloney said he is envisioning Gordon centering a line with veterans Kyle Chipchura and Joe Vitale as wingers.
"They've got some good young players coming up; there's obviously a rebuild going on and it's a lot different team and different situation than when I came in there a couple years ago," Gordon said, "But I think my role is going to be the same."
The trade for Gordon occurred about 72 hours after the Coyotes added veteran defenseman Nicklas Grossmann to the roster and less than 24 hours before the free agent signing period begins at 9 a.m. (AZ time) on Wednesday.
"We hope to do a few things in free agency," Maloney said. "...We have a number of holes to fill and we'll do what we can to fill them... We're going to have to be patient because it's such a dangerous game to think you can fill your roster at this time of year. "