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Grading the Coyotes Transactions at the AHL Level

Avert your eyes if you're a Springfield Falcons fan.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?

Well, if an already imploded AHL team implodes even more, do fans of the parent club still bat an eye?

The Springfield Falcons had a busy day. It is to no fault (that's correct, there was fault in these deals) of their own, as transactions made by Don Maloney that had absolutely no bearing on the Coyotes proceeded to make the Falcons more or less the laughingstock of the AHL. So let's muddle through all the transactions that impacted the Falcons today and take a look at where the team stands once the dust clears.

As a note, the Falcons could potentially have more deals coming, as the AHL trade deadline is not until next Sunday, but deals can only be made for players on AHL-only contracts.

First Move of the Day: Matthias Plachta and conditional 7th round pick in the 2017 draft to Pittsburgh for Sergei Plotnikov

This deal was an absolute steal for Arizona. Through 46 games, Plachta had a mere 2-5-7 line and was noticeably ineffective on the ice with the Falcons. In return, the Coyotes got an NHL-ready player in Plotnikov. Though his numbers in the NHL aren't stunning (0-2-2), Plotnikov was not getting a superfluous amount of ice time, and it became pretty clear early on that Pittsburgh had already mailed it in on him so long as they could find a suitor.

He's just a year older than Plachta, and in terms of development, both have just about peaked, and it's fair to assess that Plachta may not get an NHL call anytime soon as he attempts to adjust to North American hockey after spending earlier years in Germany. Plotnikov, on the other hand is already dressing for Arizona.

Grade: A-

Second Move of the Day: Dustin Jeffrey, Dan O'Donoghue and James Melindy to Pittsburgh for Matia Marcantuoni

Whoa nelly, settle in for this one.

Here's the simplest way to describe this move. The Falcons got a forward that has split time between the AHL (17 games) and ECHL (9 games) in exchange for an ECHL defenseman, AHL/ECHL forward, and their leading point scorer (13-33-46 in the AHL, 1-1-2 in the NHL) who has split time between the AHL and NHL.

Whatever Jim Rutherford told Maloney, he must've bamboozled him pretty well, because there is no reasonable way to sort out this deal. Maybe Maloney got a taste of his own medicine, and got fleeced by Rutherford? Maybe since Maloney stole Plotnikov he decided to make it up for Pittsburgh. Any way you slice it, both the Coyotes and Falcons got rocked in this trade.

Never mind the fact that the Falcons had to hand over their leading point-getter for someone who hasn't even spent the entire season in the AHL. That deal straight up would've still been a colossal loss. Instead, they threw in two more players on a deal they were already losing, rubbing salt in a mammoth gash.

To put Jeffrey in the AHL in perspective, he's been skating on a line with Greg Carey, who's been having a great season complete with 24 goals, good for fourth in the league. Jeffrey has 33 assists, and I'm sure you can imagine where a heap of those were going. Jeffrey was easily the best player on the ice in Springfield, but with him gone, expect to see production all around start to decrease rapidly.

Again, there could be some sort of far-out rationale to this deal, but it would have to be Earth-shattering in order to rationalize this deal. Nevertheless, Jeffrey is back with the club where his career began and could be a meaningful part of Pittsburgh's postseason push. In the meantime, he'll be waiting in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Grade: F

Third Move of the Day: Corey Potter to Nashville for Future Considerations

It's tough to assess this one because Arizona doesn't know what they'll get in return. On paper though, this deal also doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. Potter has been exactly what was expected when he was optioned to Springfield: an modest point-scoring, stay at home defenseman (5-12-17), and the Coyotes get essentially nothing out of this deal.

The most noticeable drawback of the deal is both the Falcons and Coyotes lose experience without Potter. He's been a member of some Cup runs in his day, and should Coyotes find themselves in need of a defenseman down the stretch, especially if they are in striking distance of a playoff spot, the asset of Potter is now gone. Not to mention the fact that the Falcons blue line has been nothing short of a disaster, and losing Potter makes it all the more porous.

Grade: C-

The Falcons have had far from a glimmering season. They are in the penultimate spot in the conference, and even a telescope would barely be of assistance for the Falcons to see the top eight in the east. At this point, the Falcons can put this campaign in the rear view mirror, because the last 21 games are going to be far from a treat.