The Phoenix Coyotes are in desperate need of a top-6 left wing who can play on a line with Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal. Acquiring a player is a very complex problem. The Coyotes need to decide if they want someone long-term or short-term, how much they are willing to spend and what they are willing to give up. After all that, the cap situation can make things tricky for all teams involved.
A top-6 left wing should be a priority for the Coyotes. Here are some of the candidates Phoenix should consider.
#14 / Left Wing / Florida Panthers
May 16, 1984
|2013 - Tomas Fleischmann||5||15||20||-3||10|
Fleischmann has moved around quite a bit in the past few years. He was initially drafted in the 3rd round of the 2002 Entry Level Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, but was ultimately traded to the Washington Capitals before playing in his first NHL game. During his first few years with the Capitals, he bounced back and forth between their AHL affiliate and the main team. During the 2010-11 season, the Capitals traded him to the Colorado Avalanche and he had a positive start to the 2010-11 season with 21 points in 22 games, however his season was cut short when he was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. He signed a four-year deal with Panthers before the 2011-12 season and went on to have the best season of his career finishing with 27-34-61. After this season, Fleischmann has one year left on his contract. His salary and cap hit will be $4.5 million.
#9 / Left Wing / Winnipeg Jets
Aug 02, 1991
|2013 - Evander Kane||12||10||22||0||39|
Kane has gotten a bad reputation lately, mostly due to some bad, unverified reports from the Winnipeg media focused on his off-ice behavior. While some people take issue with his behavior off the ice, on the ice he is one of the most skilled players in the NHL. He is still early in his career and, as of right now, is more of a goal scorer than a passer, but he has the skills to get the puck to Vrbata. Kane still has four years left on his contract and he will be paid $6 million per year each of those years. While Kane would undoubtedly make the Coyotes better, management and ownership may not be ready to make a financial commitment of that size.
#26 / Left Wing / Buffalo Sabres
Nov 01, 1983
|2013 - Matt Moulson||14||13||27||-6||22|
Moulson has already been traded once this season when the Islanders sent him and a first round pick to the Sabres in exchange for Thomas Vanek. Excluding last season, Moulson has had more goals then assists in his career, but he can definitely add something to the Phoenix's offense. He played his best year with the Islanders during 2011-12 season, when he finished 36-33-69 in 82 games. This season, he is 14-13-27 in 40 games, although that could have more to do with playing with the Sabres than his skills declining. This is Moulson's final year of a three-year contract and he will bring a cap hit of $3.13 million and will get $3.9 in salary, which will be prorated. It's worth noting that there are rumors being circulated that the Coyotes are looking to trade for Moulson.
#57 / Right Wing / Edmonton Oilers
May 28, 1988
|2013 - David Perron||17||16||33||-6||44|
Originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues, Perron was traded last July to the Oilers for Magnus Paajarvi and a 2nd round pick. In the past, Perron had some injury problems which caused shortened seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He has been good for the Oilers this season and currently is 17-16-33 in 40 games, which puts him on pace for a career high. Perron has two years left on his deal, which is a longer commitment then a few of the other names on this list. His deal will see him get $4.25 million next year and $4.5 million the year after and his average cap hit will be $3.8125.
#13 / Right Wing / Dallas Stars
May 08, 1972
|2013 - Ray Whitney||4||11||15||-2||6|
Whitney spent two years in Phoenix where he helped Vrbata have a career season; but due to ownership issues, the Coyotes weren't able to offer Whitney a suitable contract and he ended up signing a two-year deal in Dallas. Whitney would be able to easily slip back into the role with Hanzal and Vrbata and fans have already seen the impact that he can have with those two. If Whitney was brought back to Arizona, I have no doubt that line would quickly become the top line for the Coyotes once again. Whitney is in the last year of what could be his final contract and, since leaving Phoenix, he has had some injury problems that may be cause for concern for the Coyotes.
I think Fleischmann is the best option for the Coyotes. Fleischmann has a reasonable contract that would keep him in Phoenix for at least next season and his salary is in a reasonable range for a top-6 left wing. He is one of only two players on this list who has more assists then goals, which puts him more in the Ray Whitney category then other players. Moulson's and Whitney's one-year deals create uncertainty for the next season. Perron is good, but his salary is going to be pretty high the next two seasons. Kane is a player who the team would need to build their offense around, and though he is a great player, I don't think the Coyotes want to make the commitment of paying him $24 million over the next four seasons.
Fleischmann is exactly what the Yotes need because he is a left winger who can get the puck to other players, he has a reasonable cap hit for a top-6 forward and he will be locked up for next season so the Coyotes won't have to go through this problem again next year. Considering Florida's position in the standings, he shouldn't be too difficult to trade for.
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