The NHL trade deadline came and passed on Wednesday and the Phoenix Coyotes were active as they made three moves before the deadline hit.
“We still feel we have our core team in place,” said Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving. “We have gone through injuries this year. We still feel that the group that we have here today can compete. We also feel people are pushing from underneath in our minor league club in Portland.”
First and possibly most notably, the team traded forward Raffi Torres to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a third round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft. The third rounder was originally Florida’s 3rd rounder which was traded to San Jose in the Ryan Clowe trade.
“Rafi brought a lot of energy to our team,” explained Treliving. “He was a restricted player that we didn’t know that we could bring him back. We think we got a really good asset with the 3rd round pick.”
Next the team dealt center Matthew Lombardi to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for left wing Brandon McMillian. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound McMillan played in six games with the Ducks this season registering one assist. He also has recorded 13 points with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.
Treliving mentioned that Lombardi “never seemed to be able to get into a rhythm,” with the team as he was acquired right before the start of the season and he dealt with injuries.
Finally, the Coyotes traded forward Steve Sullivan to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2014 seventh round pick. Sullivan played in 33 games with the team collecting 12 total points.
“We thank all players for the services they gave us,” mentioned Treliving. “You can ask Steve (Sullivan) that it probably didn’t go as well as we hoped.”
The deadline was also about moves that the Coyotes didn’t make. There were a lot of rumors of the team trading Keith Yandle, Boyd Gordon or goalie Mike Smith. But that was not the case.
“Mike Smith is a pending unrestricted free agent, we did not move him today,” said Treliving. “Some of the moves we didn’t make point toward us trying to move forward this season. We know it’s a tough hill to climb going forward for the rest of the season.”
“With the owner situation it is what it is. We didn’t have the luxury that we were able to add any pay roll,” Treliving added. “As we got in here today and got a sense of what the prices were and what the return was. Throughout the day we made those decisions.”
With the team adding mostly draft picks in two of the three deals, it beings the opportunity for the Coyotes to call up talent on their minor league club in Portland.
“It’s an opportunity for someone to come up and inject some life in our lineup,” Treliving said.