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NHL trade deadline: Which Arizona Coyotes will be on the move this year?

Some Coyotes are more likely than others to get traded this year. Who are they?

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Coyotes' general manager Don Maloney has a lot of potential candidates to deal.

The Candidates

Antoine Vermette - Center

The center has been the lynchpin of the Coyotes Top Six, but is also highly likely to command way more money in the offseason than the Coyotes want to spend. That means that Don Maloney would benefit from getting something in exchange for Vermette. And with rumored suitors ranging from Colorado, Montreal, and St. Louis, it would be difficult to imagine Antoine Vermette finishes his season in Arizona.

Trade Likelihood - 9.5/10

Zbynek Michalek - Defense

Michalek has been a mainstay of the Coyotes' defense for quite some time. But like Vermette, Michalek is a pending unrestricted free agent this summer. Michalek has a lot of value as a shutdown defenseman, so a team like Tampa Bay would probably be willing to acquire him to bolster their blueline.

Trade Likelihood - 9/10

Martin Erat - Forward

The Coyotes forward has bounced back from a horrific 2013-14 campaign this season to post respectable production (seven goals and seventeen assists) this year. Though Vermette is likely the most intriguing asset on the roster currently, Erat could be a good consolation prize for a team looking to improve its two-way depth.

Trade Likelihood - 6.0/10

Martin Hanzal - Center

The Czech center has developed into an extremely effective shutdown center. He has become an interesting target because his contract is both affordable ($3.1M AAV) and lengthy (signed through 2016/17). Hanzal would be a good solution at center for teams looking to make a longer-term upgrade at that position, but because he wouldn't be a rental player, Don Maloney's ask is likely higher than it would be for a player like Vermette.

Trade Likelihood - 5.0

Sam Gagner - Forward

Gagner was brought in to replace some of the production lost by Mike Ribeiro's and Radim Vrbata's departures. Thus far, it's been slow going. Gagner has ten goals and seventeen assists this year while languishing at center for much of the season before Dave Tippett made the right decision to move him over to the wing. For the Coyotes to flip an asset like Gagner so quickly after acquiring him is not usual, but it's not impossible either.

Trade Likelihood - 3.5/10

Keith Yandle - Defense

What will become of Keith Yandle? The defenseman has been the subject of trade rumors for several offseasons now, yet still nothing has actually happened with the puck-moving defenseman. It's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Yandle gets dealt prior to the deadline, given that he has one year left on his contract after this season. But if Yandle is in fact going to be traded this year, it will likely be closer towards the NHL Draft when Arizona has a more realistic assessment of who is going to be available this year.

Trade Likelihood - 2/10

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Defense

The nuclear option. The trade of last resort. The single most unlikely player on the roster to be traded (apart from Shane Doan, of course). OEL is one of the most dynamic defensemen in the game, and has the potential to stake a claim for the Norris Trophy in the immediate future. So Arizona would understandably be extremely reluctant to deal him.

So how could OEL be traded? There is one, and only one, scenario in which I could see OEL going somewhere else. He would have to be traded to either Edmonton or Buffalo, and their lottery draft pick would have to come back to Arizona without Arizona giving up their own. Only with the Coyotes drafting in the top five twice in this draft could a trade for OEL even slightly make sense.

Trade Likelihood -  0.5/10

So that is a reasonably comprehensive look at the players that Arizona could potentially trade this month. Agree with the scores? Anybody we missed? Let us know in the comments section.