When Jaime Eisner first began this weekly feature, I immediately took a liking to it. I had always liked Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts" segment and thought it was a great source of information and commentary. It's a feature I would like to continue Monday's here at FFH.
Anyway, here are some recent thoughts of mine.
- There was plenty of dissatisfaction among the hockey world at the level of play in the 2015 All-Star Game. And when looking at the defensive coverage on some of these goals, it's not hard to see why.
- The flip side, of course, is that competitive spirit and bragging rights only go so far to motivate players in a meaningless exhibition game midway through a season where missing even a single game check to injury can throw tens of thousands of dollars down the drain.
- I don't know exactly how you "fix" the All-Star Game to make it more reflective of the NHL regular season. The intensity seemed to pick up a bit in the third period, but it all comes down to whether or not increasing the speed and flow of the game is worth increasing the risk of injury. Probably not.
- That said, the game still has meaning. But its meaning is in moments like this. Or this.
- Back to the Coyotes: Arizona will play 14 games in February, but only five will be at home. The roughest stretch is likely at the end of the month, when they play New Jersey and the New York Islanders on a road back-to-back, then the Rangers on Thursday, concluding with the Bruins on Saturday.
- Arizona will have one more road back-to-back in February: against the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. Oy.
- Since it is all but a given at this point that the Coyotes will miss the playoffs, expect veteran players to be shipped off before the trade deadline. The most obvious candidates would seem to be Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek, with Martin Erat, David Moss, and perhaps even Sam Gagner as more distant possibilities.
- Darren Dreger mentioned back in December that Don Maloney's asking price for Vermette was a prospect and a roster player. It wouldn't surprise me to see them come off of that position. NHL clubs know Vermette will likely walk this summer, and Maloney does not want to get nothing for his asset. A pending UFA for UFA swap, with a high pick (low 1st or high 2nd) coming back to Arizona seems a little more reasonable.
- Z would likely net a smaller return, given his skill-set is a little less in-demand on the market and a little easier to come by. Tampa Bay seems like a decent landing spot for him though.
- Finally, if Arizona does have open roster spots after the trade deadline, they will probably be filled by more veteran guys like Alexandre Bolduc or Andrew Campbell. The reason why is the same reason players like Max Domi and Tobias Rieder did not start the season in the NHL; the Coyotes do not want to rush their prospects. Being out of the playoffs probably doesn't change that mindset, nor should it.