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After trades, Coyotes still see playoffs in reach

GM Maloney likes return of prospects, veteran Tanguay

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney isn't throwing in the towel.

The Coyotes made multiple moves before the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, including trading forward Mikkel Boedker to the Colorado Avalanche, but Maloney still feels Arizona can rebound to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite recent struggles. The Coyotes have lost five consecutive games and are eight points out of the second wild card from the Western Conference, but Maloney said he decided to hang on to a few pieces he could have traded to attempt a late playoff push.

"All-in-all, what we're trying to say to our fans is, 'Hey, we got a couple assets … we're not throwing the towel in.' We still feel we kept some of the [unrestricted free agent] guys we could have got maybe late picks for. We want to show the people we have to stop the bleeding, hopefully tonight, and we have some home games coming up. Let's start winning our games and maybe crawl our way back to the playoffs."

Maloney said the Coyotes began entertaining potential trades involving Boedker when it became apparent the 26-year-old right wing intended to enter free agency in the offseason. Boedker ranked third on Arizona with 39 points, behind defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (48 points) and forward Max Domi (42).

"I thought we had very positive talk. We really made a hard push at the All-Star break hoping we could do something at that point," Maloney said. "When it became clear to me that Mikkel was more interested in free agency and testing the market, then we started the process of finding out what kind of return we could get for him. I think if our record was a little better over the past couple weeks and we were closer to a playoff-like position, maybe the return would have been a little bit different, or it would have been a different action. But we feel we came out with a couple good athletes."

Arizona acquired forwards Alex Tanguay and Conner Bleackley and defenseman Kyle Wood for Boedker a few hours after receiving forward Sergei Plotnikov from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tanguay, the most prominent piece the Coyotes received, has 279 goals and 850 points in 1,070 NHL games.

Maloney said he hopes Tanguay can help the Coyotes' 15th-ranked power play.

"Alex Tanguay, our power play continues to need some work," Maloney said. "Alex has been a good player. I think he was looking forward to a change of scenery for him. I think it'll be good for him and good for us."

Bleackley and Wood are viewed as potential assets for the future, Maloney said. Wood is seen as particularly valuable given Arizona's lack of defensive prospect depth.

"Conner Bleackley was a first-round pick of Colorado that if he's not signed by June 1, we'll receive a compensatory second-round pick for him," Maloney said. "We liked him as a prospect. He does have a knee injury and we kind of have to look into that, but there is protection in the sense of the second-round pick, which is always a good asset. And Kyle Wood is a defenseman we liked … I really wanted to help build our defensive prospect pool.

"We all know up front, we're as good as any team in the League in regards to what we have coming in the future. On our blue line is where we need to continue to look to get stronger, so we're happy to have Kyle. We thought he'd be a guy that we'd find and continue to develop, and hopefully he'll become a regular NHL player in the future."

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