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Arizona Coyotes acquire Grossmann, Pronger from Flyers in exchange for Sam Gagner

The Coyotes add a physical presence on their blue-line, and a contract onto their books.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Arizona Coyotes sent signals out earlier this week suggesting that Sam Gagner was a potential buyout target, it seemed like his days in Sedona Red were all but over.

After the 2015 NHL Draft ended, they were.

The Arizona Coyotes announced this afternoon that Gagner was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Nicklas Grossmann and the contract of Chris Pronger.

Grossmann recorded five goals and nine assists in 68 games for Philadelphia last season. The 30 year old makes $3.5 million this year, though only $3 million against the salary cap.

Unfortunately for Coyotes fans, Grossmann's possession numbers are not very good at all. At 5v5 Grossmann's SATFor% was an abysmal 46.3%, despite starting slightly more shifts in the offensive zone compared to the defensive zone. Grossmann's shooting percentage last saeson at 5v5 was 14.3% compared to 1.6% the year before. It's probably safe to say his production totals are going to decrease a bit.

When looking at Grossmann's even-strength numbers relative to the rest of the league, his role on the Coyotes should be clear:

Grossmann HERO

Grossmann is a third pairing guy. And recent injury troubles have left him struggling with his speed and zone exits. He should be a good mentor to some of the younger defensemen (Don Maloney specifically mentioned Grossmann's ability to mentor Klas Dahlbeck as a reason to acquire him), but he's not going to bring much else.

We reached out to Travis Hughes - Managing Editor of Broad Street Hockey - to hear what he had to say about the former Flyer. He was less than complimentary.

Grossmann was the worst defenseman on the Flyers by a long shot last year, and that's saying something given the state of the Flyers' D in 2014-15. He's lost a step since dealing with injury issues the last few years, and he didn't really have a step to lose in the first place.

He's slow, he gives up a ton of shots / scoring chances while he's on the ice, and as you can see by the chart, he's a third-pairing guy at best in just about every statistical category. His numbers don't even look at that bad last year though, mostly because of regular partner Mark Streit and goalie Steve Mason. Bailed out, often.

The addition of Chris Pronger is little more than a bookkeeping move, but one the Flyers desperately needed. Thanks to a ridiculously lopsided contract, Pronger's salary is just around $500k. But his cap hit is just under $5 million a season. Philadelphia could pay him with no problem, but his cap hit severely hampered Ron Hextall's ability to move pieces around during free agency and at the trade deadline.

Taking Pronger's contract off of Philadelphia's hands is a favor Don Maloney is doing for Hextall, especially since indications are Philadelphia will be the one to buyout the remaining year of Gagner's contract. It's a rather ignominious end for the forward, who despite registering a 52.0% SATFor with 41 points on a bad possession team in Arizona, was never really able to live up to the contract he signed in Edmonton.

For Arizona, this move gives their blue-line a more physical presence, it jettisons a player the team had no intention of keeping, and it brings them closer to meeting the salary floor. But it doesn't do a whole lot to make the team better.

UPDATE: Also in the deal is a conditional draft pick. The Coyotes give up a 4th round pick in 2016 should they acquire one this year (Arizona's original 4th rounder went to New York as part of the Keith Yandle trade). Should they not get one, Philadelphia will receive a 3rd round pick in 2017.