The Phoenix Coyotes made a pair of trades the day before Wednesday's trade deadline, but remained idle on deadline day. In the end, the Coyotes added a top-six forward, a minor leaguer and a second round draft pick and gave up only one NHL roster player and one draft pick (2015 fourth round draft pick).
|Martin Erat||David Rundblad|
|John Mitchell (AHL)||Rostislav Klesla (AHL)|
|2014 second round pick||Chris Brown (AHL)|
|Mathieu Brisebois (AHL)|
|2015 fourth round pick|
The cornerstone of Phoenix's acquisitions is Erat, who is anticipated to play on a line with fellow Czechs Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata.
"The Erat deal is something Don (Maloney) has talked about for a long time," coach Dave Tippett said. "We think he's a player that can fit into our group."
Erat, 32, comes over from the Washington Capitals after scoring one goal and 24 points in 53 games this season. Even though the winger is known more for his passing than his shooting, his lack of goal scoring in the last two seasons (six goals in 98 games) is concerning.
"He had a little more success in Nashville than he had in Washington, but he does enough other things in the game that really help you win that I think he can become a valuable player for us," Tippett said.
Erat had a lot of success in Nashville, having eight consecutive 49+ point seasons from 2003-04 to 2011-12.
Tippett describes Erat's style as a competitive, versatile forward who can play both left and right wing who plays solid on the walls and makes timely plays.
"There are players that make good plays when it's an easy time to make a play but there are players that make good plays in hard situations and he's a guy that has the ability to do that," Tippett said.
Erat told reporters in his introductory conference call he wanted to play alongside players he knew. He played with Hanzal in this year's Olympics, Vrbata in the 2008 World Championship and 2001 World Junior Championship and Mike Ribeiro in Washington last season.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan is encouraged not only by the act of bringing in forward help for the playoff push, but the player chosen to join his team.
"I'm personally so excited," Doan said. "It's always difficult (to lose) Rundy (David Rundblad), Rusty (Klesla) and Brownie (Chris Brown), guys we've all gotten to know and you never want anybody to leave but at the same time, Erat is a guy that can come in and, as a forward, he can help us and we're excited."
"We've seen what he has done in Nashville when he's played against us and we all have a lot of respect for him and his abilities," Doan added.
But with the additions, subtractions are almost always necessary. Phoenix had to part ways with a pair of young players and a veteran who had fallen out of favor.
Rundblad was shipped off to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a second round draft pick in the upcoming NHL draft. The 23-year-old played 26 NHL games for the Coyotes, scoring five points, over parts of three seasons since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators in December 2011.
The Swedish defenseman never really caught on with the team and was relegated to the press box as a frequent healthy scratch this season.
"He's a real good kid and has been a good teammate," Tippett said.
After two and a half successful seasons in Sedona Red, Klelsa's play dipped, starting when he returned from a preseason injury at the hands of Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan. Klesla played just 25 games this season and spent time in the AHL after clearing waivers on multiple occasions. The 31-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent and was not likely to play for the Coyotes again even if he was not traded.
Klesla was moved the following day to the Buffalo Sabres.
Brown heads to the Washington organization after developing in the Coyotes' system as a second round pick. The Texas native appeared in six NHL games this season and projected as a depth forward.
Acquired as part of the Erat deal, Mitchell, a 27-year-old forward will report to Phoenix's AHL affiliate Portland Pirates. Mitchell is a pending unrestricted free agent who tallied 30 goals in 191 AHL games.
The Coyotes lose their 2015 fourth round draft pick but gain Chicago's second round pick in June's draft.