With Andrew Ladd off the trade market thanks to the Chicago Blackhawks, Mikkel Boedker's trade value has skyrocketed. With Boedker one of the better remaining options, the Arizona Coyotes are going to have a decision or two to make. And make soon.
Why Tampa Bay?
Just yesterday it was reported that Steve Yzerman said he intends to trade forward Jonathan Drouin before the NHL trade deadline. Having already stated that both the team and Steven Stamkos, who has yet to sign a contract, would focus on a strong playoff run, it should be no surprise that the Lightning will look to add assets before the deadline.
A strong, fast winger like Boedker could fit relatively easily in Tampa's system. The Lightning's PP is ranked 22nd in the league with 17.5%. The Coyotes on the other hand, are ranked 14th with 18.7%. This is in large part due to Boedker's production at the point where he has earned 18 of his 38 points this year.
Not only could Boedker offer a high offensive edge to their PP, one that they desperately need, but if he were to go on a hot streak Boedker could come in clutch for Tampa in the playoffs. Regardless of if the Lightning would be able to sign Boedker this summer, he could be what the Lightning could use to make a playoff run.
It's no secret that the Coyotes have been trying to establish a top line center, preferably one that isn't the struggling Antoine Vermette. While they secured Dylan Strome in the last draft, and have Christian Dvorak in their system as well, a center such as Drouin would be invaluable. Drouin also is simply not giving the Lightning much value right now in the AHL.
Sending Drouin to Arizona would solve Tampa's problem. Drouin would not only be out of division but also out of conference. The Lightning only play the Coyotes two times a year and outside of that the only other time they would have to face Drouin would be in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Coyotes have a few players that they can afford to part with. Even with interest in Boedker being high it would take more than just the forward to bring Drouin to the desert. So what exactly could they send to the Lightning in exchange for Drouin? I think it could look something like this:
- Boedker - More than likely with some salary retained as the Lighting are close to running out of cap space, though this would be the only player Arizona could retain salary on given Sam Gagner and Keith Yandle are still technically on Arizona's payroll.
- A Defenseman - The Coyotes have taken to carrying eight defenseman since acquiring Jarred Tinordi. It would not be a surprise to see one go. Klas Dahlbeck and Jarred Tinordi would be tough assets for the Coyotes to part with, but the possibility of a number one center would be near impossible to pass up.
- A Draft Pick - The Coyotes have three draft picks and one conditional pick in the first three rounds in the 2016 NHL Draft. Picks are absolutely invaluable for teams trying to win now, so offering up a high pick could prove crucial to close a deal.
Now obviously the main goal for the Coyotes would be Drouin, but with the Lightning so close to the cap there's no doubt they'll look to unload at least one more asset.
- Drouin - With two years left on an ELC, he would fit right in with the youth currently being displayed on the Coyotes roster.
- Another player - Matt Carle is a defenseman who has be rumored to be a piece the Lighting would like to move in order to clear some cap space, while Braydon Coburn costs $4.5M against the cap and is a UFA after next season. Maybe one of those defensemen could relieve some of the cap pressure.
While this is just a theoretical trade it is one that could potentially benefit both teams. The Lightning would get a key addition to their struggling PP, something that Yzerman has stated as a key priority approaching the deadline, while getting rid of a player that has clearly worn out his welcome in Tampa.
In exchange, the Coyotes could get the first line center they've desperately been yearning for and a player they could develop. A Boedker-Drouin trade package would be a major deal for both teams, and one that potentially leaves everyone happy.