Were you surprised by the lack of moves yesterday?
James: I am, actually. I felt that the team needed a shakeup to kind of jolt them out of the slump they’ve experienced recently. They have some great players but some need to be moved on or swapped out for some fresh faces. I’m not convinced that the Yotes can get back to where they were before Christmas without some changes.
Brandon: Not really. John Chayka made his big splash getting Hall and the price to acquire any of the meaningful rentals was just too high. Acquiring another player would also really cramp our press box, which features a rotating cast of Michael Grabner, Christian Fischer, and Barrett Hayton. That he didn’t bring in another defenceman to cover the losses of Jason Demers and Jakob Chychrun tells me that the former must be close to returning. The only acquisition that could really help this team, in my opinion, is one that takes place behind the bench.
Carl: No. I don’t see a trade situation where the Coyotes could have gotten better at the trade deadline. If they miss the playoffs I think they will be very active in the lead up to the draft. The lineup isn’t perfect and needs to be better, but I don’t think that could have happened at the deadline.
Rose: No, it’s been reported at length by all the beat reporters that GM Chayka doesn’t like the limited market and high prices at the trade deadline. I also wasn’t surprised to hear Craig Morgan’s confirmation that the Coyotes were very interested in a right-handed center like Vincent Trochek, but now I’m a bit miffed at Carolina for stealing him.
Do you think the Coyotes should have traded Taylor Hall?
James: Not at all. He’s been arguably the best, most consistent producer since arriving in the desert and any hopes of the team reaching the postseason rests on players such as Hall. The Coyotes need more of him, not less.
Brandon: While I’m sure he’d have gotten a good “Hall” for trading him, it would send a pretty poor message to the team, fans, and community if he did. It also indicates that he really is serious about keeping him around after July 1, which is going to require a pretty considerable trade, so I’d say Chayka is pretty invested in Hall.
Carl: I wrote a whole post about why I think it was a good thing that we didn’t trade Hall.
Rose: Absolutely not! Trading Taylor Hall does not make this team better now and probably wouldn’t have provided the assets that are needed to make this team better. They probably could have received a first-round pick but one that is in the latter half of the draft is the same as a second-round pick anyway. If the Coyotes can find a way to make the playoffs, I think they have a legitimate chance at re-signing him. And if they don’t they can always try to trade his rights at the draft.
Do you think the Coyotes will make the playoffs?
James: It is going to be an extremely difficult task but at this point, you should never say never. However, things are looking far less assured.
Brandon: The Playoff hopes seem to fade with each passing day. They’ve got some very important games in early March against some of their Canadian rivals in the Pacific Division and they’ll need to be just about perfect to assure themselves a chance to play. Based on their up-and-down play in the last few months, I’m not holding my breath.
Carl: I still see the Coyotes making the playoffs, but they aren’t making things easier for themselves. The Pacific Division is weak so I can see them moving up or regaining a Wild Card spot.
Rose: Except for a few games the Coyotes are mostly playing Western conference teams in March and April so they do still have a shot. They really need to step on the gas and get on a run though, that has been tough for them to do all season. Now is when we really get to find out if the schedule has been such an issue or if the team really needs a shakeup.
Which division rival are you most worried about post-Trade Deadline?
James: The Edmonton Oilers. They made a couple of really nice additions in Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis. Add in a returning Connor McDavid as well as Leon Draisatl and they are looking threatening.
Brandon: The Edmonton Oilers added some more punch up front, but that’s not really where they were lacking. I think they’d have improved their chances more had they added more on their blueline, but they still are the most offensively imposing team in the Pacific, so they get my vote. Vegas made an underrated move in picking up Lehner, which will give the Golden Knights a chance to win even on nights that they give Fleury off. They’ve got two back-to-back sets in March against the Flames, Oilers, Stars, and Coyotes, so winning those games are going to be of incredible importance to them.
Carl: If you believe in the adage that goaltending wins championships then Vegas got better. I am not sure how big an impact Lehner will have, but a tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner is kinda scary.
Rose: Vancouver, not because of their deadline moves but because the Coyotes play them the most, that’s three 4-point games. And with injuries piling up for the Canucks they may very well decide which of these two teams makes the postseason.