A few weeks ago I wrote about how Oliver Ekman-Larsson for Auston Matthews trade proposals and ‘rumors’ are getting exhausting and how it will never happen. But people are still pushing for it, even with the Coyotes saying they are picking seventh.
The dream scenario would have been to pick first overall, but it just isn't going to happen now. But if you ask the Toronto Maple Leafs fans or anyone over at Pension Plan Puppets (sup guys), they will humor a package of Ekman-Larsson, Max Domi and/or Dylan Strome and the 7th overall pick. They'll laugh at you while they say it, but they'll listen.
Consider the damage a blockbuster trade such as that would do to the Coyotes. It would cause irreversible damage to the team in the years to come, making Arizona like Edmonton, but with less forward talent.
Loss of Ekman-Larsson
The Loss of Ekman-Larsson would devastate the Coyotes defensive corps. At the age of 24, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is one of the top 10 defenseman under the age of 25. He is a truly gifted offensive defenseman, who is in the same class as Erik Karlsson and Victor Hedman. To remove his skill to shut down star players and his point production would set the Coyotes defense to be closer to Edmonton than Tampa Bay.
Any team who is looking to bolster their blue line would pay out the nose for Ekman-Larsson. He does struggle defensively at times, but he is a 24 year old defenseman putting up numbers and skill that will one day get him noticed for a Norris Trophy nomination and win. The Leafs would take him in a heartbeat as they are still struggling with their defensive depth.
Currently they have a very thin stock of young defenseman and way too many spots that are open with pending UFA and RFA players. The Coyotes may have rushed Connor Murphy, who was 21 when he started to play for the team regularly, not to knock Murphy’s talent. Michael Stone is productive on offense but troubling on defense, and no other player on the team has proven that they have consistent top-four potential.
Loss of Domi
Earlier in the year Brendan wrote about a possible Max Domi for Auston Matthews trade. With the Coyotes having one of strongest prospect pools in the league, everyone always looks at the young talent when looking at a big trade.
Domi has become a very fast fan favorite in the valley. His outreach in the community hits home with a large group of fans, but his scrappy nature also appeals to Coyotes Nation. Domi’s rookie year point production was impressive for a rookie. His impact was instant for the Coyotes at the first part of the 2015-16 season. His point totals could be replaced with a player like Matthews and the Coyotes do have depth in the wing position, but the instant chemistry he had with players like Martin Hanzal and Anthony Duclair may not exist with another team.
A Domi for Matthews trade might be a bet Arizona is willing to take, but Toronto is in a position to demand more, which they certainly would. That brings up Arizona's next most exciting prospect: Dylan Strome.
Loss of Strome
Center depth has been a perennial struggle for the Coyotes. They have been looking for a real 1C for many years, and with the recent drafting of Strome, the Coyotes believe they have solved their problem. To draft Matthews, a generational talent, would be huge for the Coyotes and that is a sticking point with many people. To trade Strome, who is a very strong center in his own right, for Matthews would be logical. When you draft young players you very rarely know what you are going to get.
Losing Strome, but gaining a Matthews wouldn’t put much pressure on the team. They would have the 1C space covered. And now the Coyotes have a pipeline of centers at their disposal looking at the likes of Christian Dvorak and Ryan MacInnis.
What Would You Do?
If a one for one trade of first overall for Dylan Strome was an actual option, Coyotes fans would take it in a heartbeat, and so would the staff most likely. With Dvorak showing he is ready for a higher state of hockey; the Coyotes have time to develop a 1C.
It’s when you start adding other pieces to a large trade to make it work that starts to hurt the outlook of the team in the long run. And make no mistake, there's no trade that Toronto would accept that doesn't send several forwards back their way.
Demolishing the Coyotes prospect pool would not be worth any trade, even if it is for Auston Matthews.