GLENDALE -- Hockey’s danger zone has come and gone.
The League’s trade deadline day was Wednesday. It’s the sport’s annual ritual when managers across the circuit hunker down in their war rooms, loaded with coffee, capologists and cash. It’s the time when inflationary pricing rules the day and the futures of organizations often stickhandle their ways down a one-way street named destruction.
Think of it as one of those Thanksgiving night holiday sales. Instead of parking lots being all jammed up, it’s lit up phone lines in conference rooms. Just like consumers lighting up their credit cards hunting for deals, trade deadline day tends to be general managers setting draft picks and prospects ablaze in hopes of finding a player that can put their organization over the top in their quest for the silver challis.
It’s a time when logic is thrown out the window and hockey narcissism rules the day. But organizations that show common sense and restraint are often the runaway winners.
Like the Phoenix Coyotes.
As Wednesday’s deadline neared, the Coyotes worked the phones and formulated offers. Yet through it all, they kept their heads and vowed only to make deals that made sense not just in the short term, but also for the well being and long term viability to the organization. In the end, they didn’t find a dance partner, those other GM’s who likely sought more for less.
Credit General Manager Don Maloney for standing his ground. And even though he had the full backing of the Coyotes new ownership group to spend the dough when it made sense, his gut told him to move on and take a pass, especially after he’d already improved his club on Tuesday with a pair of moves.
He acquired Martin Erat from the Washington Capitals for Rostislav Klesla and Chris Brown. Erat fills an immediate need in the team’s top six forward ranks and was acquired without having to give up a roster player. Klesla’s run with the Coyotes had all but ended after being waived earlier in the season while Brown never took advantage of his call-up opportunities. Both had been playing in Portland of the American Hockey League at the time of the trade.
Prior to his deal with Washington, Maloney shipped defenseman David Rundblad and a prospect to Chicago for a second round draft pick. Rundblad is young and could still develop into a top six NHL blue liner one day. But the Coyotes positional depth facilitated the move. Now players like Connor Murphy, Chris Summers and Brandon Gormley are a step closer to becoming NHL regulars.
Many even thought the second round pick acquired in the Rundblad trade would be flipped on Wednesday for a player that could provide an immediate impact to the roster. Maloney undoubtedly made offers and received plenty of feelers in return. But in the end, he decided to stay put.
So as the trade deadline came and passed, patience made the organization better not only in the short run, but long term as well.
Maloney got his man. He added a chip for the future. He likes his group in the dressing room. And he didn't give up any valuable future draft picks that will help this franchise down the road.
What’s not to like?