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Arizona Coyotes build for future with trade deadline moves

The Coyotes focused on acquiring draft picks at the deadline, which is all part of GM Bill Armstrong's plan to build the team into a contender for years to come

TEMPE, Ariz. — The NHL's trade deadline has now passed and the Arizona Coyotes were very active, making a total of six moves, which were mainly aimed at continuing the team's rebuild through the NHL Draft. 

In their six trades, the Coyotes acquired eight draft picks. Four of those picks will be in this year's draft, which will take place in late June in Nashville, Tennessee. 

The Coyotes also have one new pick in the 2024 Draft, one new pick in the 2025 Draft, and two new picks in the 2026 Draft.  

General Manager Bill Armstrong says this is all a part of the plan to make this team a contender. 

"Our aim was more to acquire draft capital at this point," Armstrong said. "As you seen (sic) last year at the draft, we were able to walk out of the draft with three first-rounders and a host of other picks. And we were looking to do the same here, this will give us a chance for two fairly high picks in the draft in the first round. And you can really make some hay when you do that as an organization like we did last year, and we're looking to do it again this year. It also helps us plan out the rest of our rebuild and adding picks in '24 and '26. So that just helps further stock our picks for future drafts."

Here are all of the trades the Coyotes made ahead of the deadline. 

On Feb. 22, the Coyotes traded defenseman Dysin Mayo to the Vegas Golden Knights for a 2023 5th-round draft pick and the contract of defenseman Shea Weber.  

Weber will likely never play for the Coyotes due to injuries. His last game was Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final when he was with the Montreal Canadiens and he has been on long-term injured reserve for the Golden Knights all season. Weber, who was one of the best defensemen in hockey during his career, played 16 seasons in the NHL for Montreal and the Nashville Predators.  

On Feb. 28, the Coyotes were part of a 3-team trade that was centered around the Chicago Blackhawks sending right wing Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers.  

The Rangers got Kane and defenseman Cooper Zech in the deal. The Blackhawks got defenseman Andy Welinski, a 2023 conditional 2nd-round draft pick, and a 2025 4th-round draft pick from New York along with defenseman Vili Saarijavi from the Coyotes. 

The Coyotes got a 2025 3rd-round draft pick from the Rangers.  

On March 1, the Coyotes traded defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a 2026 3rd-round draft pick.  

Later that same day, in the biggest move of the year for Arizona, the Coyotes traded defenseman Jakob Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators for a 2023 1st-round draft pick, a conditional 2024 2nd-round draft pick, and a 2026 2nd-round draft pick.   

The Coyotes had been working on a trade for Chychrun for almost two full seasons. At the Coyotes media day at the start of training camp for the 2022-23 season, Chychrun said he and the team agreed early in the 2021-22 season to work on a trade. Rumors had surrounded Chychrun ever since, and Armstrong says the team worked hard to find the right trade partner. 

"You're looking at all times, like, last year, we tried to move him before the deadline, we tried to move him during the year, we looked in the summer," Armstrong said in a Zoom with reporters after Chychrun's trade. "We just look at different avenues and obviously different points in the schedule to do that, and try and see if you can find a match. And we did that. So this for us was the right time to move on."

The Coyotes drafted Chychrun with the 16th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. He had 60 goals and 110 assists in 373 career games in Arizona.  

Yesterday, the Coyotes traded goalie Jon Gillies to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek and a 2023 6th-round draft pick.  

Like Shea Weber, Voracek may never play for Arizona. The 33-year-old has been out since early November due to a concussion and told BlueJackets.com in December that the concussion could end his career. This was a salary cap move, something Armstrong is very comfortable doing at the trade deadline. 

"When you're coming down the stretch and you're dealing with championship teams or teams that are trying to get in the playoffs, obviously they're pushing hard with the salary," Armstrong said. "Most teams, it's money in, money out. So if you're dealing with a team, they're also pushing money back your way. Obviously, you had to sort through all the deals and figure out the best value. We're still in the rebuild mode and next year, we're still in that mold, so there are opportunities for us next year to kind of take advantage of the market again and obviously, take back bad contracts as we've done in the previous two years."  

Also yesterday, the Coyotes traded forward Nick Bjugstad and defenseman Cam Dineen to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Michael Kesselring and a 2023 3rd-round draft pick.   

Kesselring, a 6th-round draft pick in 2018, has not played a game in the NHL but has 13 goals and nine assists in 49 games for the American Hockey League's Bakersfield Condors this year.

On Friday, the Coyotes pulled the trigger on another trade, acquiring Connor Mackey and Brett Ritchie from Calgary for Troy Stecher and Nick Ritchie. And yes, Nick and Brett are brothers. This is the first time in NHL history that siblings have been involved in a trade on both sides of the deal.

There were many moves made before the trade deadline this year and many of those happened days or weeks in advance. And Armstrong is not surprised by that at all. 

"Well, we tried to ruin the trade deadline shows, that's the biggest thing in Toronto, we just like to watch those guys talk about nothing for about three hours on the trade deadline day," Armstrong said. "Particularly this year, the calls started way earlier. And it just seemed to focus way before. This seems like we've been at this for 300 weeks already. And I think I think it's just getting earlier, I don't know why that is. But I think teams want to get their player that they want. They want to get it situated, and they don't want to wait to the last moment to do so. So I do believe that there's a change in when GMs are negotiating. They're not waiting for the final day. They're pursuing that anywhere from, you know, three weeks out."  

The Coyotes will play Shayne Gostisbehere and the Carolina Hurricanes at Mullett Arena in Tempe tonight. The puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. 

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