There have been rumors for a while now that the Arizona Coyotes were thinking of trading defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. GM John Chayka has denied them every time they are brought up.
But, now there are additional rumors that the Vancouver Canucks have contacted the Coyotes about two of their forwards. Both Max Domi and Tobias Rieder have caught the eye of the Canucks' GM Jim Benning.
Rumors are just that... rumors
Last week it was reported by the NHL News Update Facebook page that the Canucks want Domi, and the Coyotes would require forward Nikolay Goldobin as a mandatory part of the deal.
Goldobin is a Russian player who has played in just 39 games between the San Jose Sharks (1-G, 1-A in 11 games) who drafted him 27th in 2014 and the Canucks where he has two goals, two assists in 16 games.
To further fuel the rumor mill the Canucks just called up Goldobin from their AHL affiliate Utica Comets to showcase him.
Even straight up this deal would favor Vancouver unless there is draft picks included. Domi is a third-year player and Goldobin has barely a half-season of NHL experience under his belt.
The Facebook post also included Rieder as part of the deal, which further complicates the issue. This may be more fantasy than a verifiable rumor at this point.
OEL rumors too
The same Facebook page had Oliver Ekman-Larsson being offered to the New York Islanders for Joshua Ho-Sang and a first round pick... which is a real joke! And the best part of the joke was that NYI GM Garth Snow turned down the deal!
Unless the deal included... say, John Tavares, why would the Coyotes give up a first-line D-man who has been to the All-Star Game twice for an unproven young player like Ho-Sang?
Ho-Sang has six goals, 16 assists in 43 NHL games. Granted he may have potential, but OEL is a proven NHL player with 553 games to his credit and 277 points, including 96 goals.
Where this could have started was a Fansided eyesonisles.com article from a month ago where it stated this possible trade:
COYOTES GET: JOSHUA HO-SANG, F
ALAN QUINE, F
2018 FIRST ROUND PICK
2018 FIRST ROUND PICK (FROM CALGARY)
ISLANDERS GET: OLIVER EKMAN-LARSSON, D
The Coyotes would be insane to trade OEL for such little in return. Now if the NYI wanted to talk about sending John Tavares to the desert that might be something more reasonable.
Acquiring a true first-line center would really help the Coyotes advance. Derek Stepan is more a second-line center at best.
The Desert Dogs have enough cap space to pay Tavares, and it doesn't seem that the Islanders are getting down to brass tacks and getting him signed... so you never know.
Let's get crazy and say they trade Domi, OEL and a draft pick to get Tavares. See... it's easy to make up fantasy trades.
Trade deadline is less than a week away
The Coyotes haven't made a major deal yet, and it is doubtful that they will trade two of their franchise players away. That doesn't go to say it won't happen. The team is getting sick and tired of losing and not making the playoffs.
The trades made last summer while looking good on paper to improve the roster has not resulted in any surmountable success.
Let's face it... Vancouver, the Islanders and the Coyotes all want to build a better team. What it comes down to now is how much does any team want to give up to get to that point?
What if the Coyotes do trade Domi, and he goes on to be a perennial 30-goal scorer? How brutal would that be?
While losing OEL would put a big hole in an already porous defense, perhaps it's time to see what teams are offering... if that hasn't already happened.
Whatever happens, the future of GM John Chayka lays in the balance. He either improves this team to get them back in the playoffs... or at least the playoff hunt, or he could be looking for other employment.
The loyal Coyotes' fans deserve better, and if it takes blowing up the team further, it may hurt at first, but will more than likely be the best option.
What we've seen this season has not been pretty, and with hopes of a new arena still lurking, the fans want a winning hockey team... or at the very least a competitive team. Only recently have the Coyotes started to show that winning habit with a current four-game winning streak.
Of course, if you don't want to give up the good life here in the desert you start playing your best hockey either before the trade deadline, or when your contract is about up.
For many of the Coyote players who are in that category, it's put up or shut up time.
Let's see who goes and who stays.
What do you see the Arizona Coyotes doing at the trade deadline? Let us know in the comments section below.