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Arizona Coyotes acquire Teemu Pulkkinen from Minnesota Wild

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An oddly timed move, but one that makes sense.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Minnesota Wild
Look at that face. How can you not root for that face?
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes announced earlier on Monday afternoon that they had acquired forward Teemu Pulkkinen from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for future considerations. There was no indication as to what, if anything, the Coyotes would give in return.

Pulkkinen was selected by the Detroit Red Wings with the 111th overall pick in 2010. He bounced back and forth between the Red Wings and their American Hockey League affiliate before the Minnesota Wild claimed Pulkkinen off waivers prior to the beginning of the 2016-17 season. He scored one goal in nine NHL games, and has 18 goals and 18 assists in 47 AHL games this season.

The timing of the deal is a little odd considering the Coyotes and Wild just completed a major trade for Martin Hanzal just yesterday. It seems like Pulkkinen could have just been included in the deal.

But, Pulkkinen is waiver eligible, which means all 29 other teams get a chance to put in a claim before Pulkkinen could be reassigned to the AHL. Pulkkinen was placed on waivers prior to the Hanzal trade, at which point a 24 hour window opened for Pulkkinen to pass through.

So what probably happened is the Coyotes and Wild agreed on a package that included Pulkkinen, but only if Pulkkinen successfully cleared waivers first. That way, the Coyotes could immediately assign him to the AHL without putting him through waivers themselves, which they would have had to do had they simply claimed him. Additionally, waivers are not free:

We’ve discussed Teemu Pulkkinen on the Coyotes before. Back when the Detroit Red Wings were rumored to be kicking the tires on Keith Yandle, Winging It In Motown asked us what we felt a potential trade for Yandle might entail. Among the pieces we suggested was Pulkkinen.

At the time, the Wings were reluctant to part with Pulkkinen, but as time went on, Pulkkinen became less essential to Detroit’s long-term plans, and this piece from WIIM might explain why:

Teemu is, at present, a bit of a one trick pony. He either comes down the wing and tries to shoot through the defenceman or when the Wings have possession in deep, powerplay or not, he wants to setup for the one timer in the left wing circle. The problem is everyone knows he can fire the puck, and they know where he likes to shoot from, NHL defencemen included.

So right now Pulkkinen appears to be a predictable player, which was less of a problem in the AHL where defensemen and goalies could not catch up. In the NHL however, they can.

Regardless, Pulkkinen should be a significant asset for the Tucson Roadrunners this year, as he has nearly a point per game in the AHL (83 G, 74 A in 166 games). He’s just 25, and he is a right-handed shot on the right side. Pulkkinen may filter his way up to the NHL later this season depending on how active the Coyotes are over the next two days.