5 Trades and Landing Spots for Coyotes Forward Clayton Keller
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The future of the Arizona Coyotes was thrown into uncertainty after theirfailed bidlast month for the construction of a new arena and entertainment complex in Tempe. They informed season ticket holders that they would continue to play at MullettArena on the Arizona State University campus while they explored other local arena options.
On May 19, Elliotte Friedman came from Sportsnetreportedthat Clayton Keller representatives met with the Coyotes to discuss the future of the club on and off the ice. The 24-year-old winger is coming off a career high of 86 points, tied for the Coyotes' lone season highpointrekord.
Friedman indicated that Keller's agents had not requested a trade. Nevertheless, the fact that they sought clarity on the Coyotes' direction on behalf of their client may worry the management of the team. Signedthrough 2027-28with an average annual value of $7.2 million, it is an important foundation for their rebuilding process.
If Keller isn't happy with the Coyotes' plans, he can request a trade. Management may also be so concerned about their representatives' visits that they may consider trading options. The no-trade clause in his contract does not come into effect until 2024/25, giving them plenty of time to assess offers, just like this season before.play in Jacob Chychrunto Ottawa.
As a young scorer close to his prime, Keller would attract a lot of interest in this summer's NHL trade market. Here's a look at five potential destinations and what the Coyotes could get in return. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.
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Under general manager Pat Verbeek, the Anaheim Ducks have rebuilt their roster with young talent. They already have threerising starsin forwards Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish and defender Jamie Drysdale plus reliable scoring in 25-year-old Troy Terry.
Adding another young scoring forward would be crucial to the Ducks' rebuilding program. Despite the best efforts of Zegas, McTavish and Terry, their average was 2.51 goals per game. match and their power play percentage (15.7)second worstthis season.
The acquisition of Clayton Keller would be a big step in the right direction for the Ducks. Skating alongside Zegras and Terry on the top line would give this club a powerful score. They were also able to deploy him on McTavish's wing to spread their scoring, giving them two dangerous lines.
The Ducks have collected $39.1 millionroom for a salary cap. While Zegras, Terry and Drysdals are restricted free agents this summer, there should be enough to re-sign them and take Keller's cap hit. They can draw on their depth in second- and third-round picks in the 2023 and 2024 drafts for trade bait, as well as prospects like Nathan Gaucher and Tristan Luneau.
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Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson began rebuilding his roster shortly after taking over the role in March 2022. After trading Patrick Kane at the March 2023 trade deadline and Jonathan Toews expected to leave as a free agent, Davidson has cleared the roster for to build it together with young talents.
Chicago will notDesign lottery 2023, making them the first pick in this year's draft. They are expected to use it to select top prospect Connor Bedard, a 17-year-old center who is considered apotential elite playerdie NHL scouts.
Bedard could benefit from an established young linemate with years of NHL experience. Clayton Keller would fit in well and give Chicago a one-two punch replacing the Kane-Toews tandem. His youth and contract ensure he would be with the Blackhawks as they build for postseason contention for the next four years.
The Blackhawks can easily afford Keller's cap hit with $41.8 million in cap space and 13 active playersunder contractfor 2023-24. They also have an extra first-round pick in this year's draft plus six others in the next two rounds to pull from as trade bait.prospectsas well as Ryan Greene and Sam Linzel could also interest the Coyotes as part of the return.
Devils of New Jersey
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The New Jersey Devils entered this offseason with a salary cap of $34.3 million and 12 active players under contractfor next season. Much of that cap space is expected to be used to re-sign restricted free agents Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt.
However, should negotiations with Meier or Bratt fail, management may be forced to consider other options. That could mean entertaining one of those players with trade offers, but also scouring the trade market for a possible replacement.
In that scenario, the Devils should seriously consider Clayton Keller if the Coyotes put him on the trade block. He would take good care of themtop lineon the left wing past Nico Hischier or second line with Jack Hughes. His contract also provides cost certainty, scoring 86 points for much less than what it would cost to re-sign Bratt or Meier.
The Devils traded their first-round pick in this year's draft, but may be willing to give up their 2024 first-round pick. They have decent depth to themview poolto exhaust for trade bait. They won't part with defensemen Luke Hughes or Simon Nemec, but forward Alexander Holtz and blueliner Seamus Casey could catch the Coyotes' interest.
Senators from Ottawa
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After just one season with the Ottawa Senators, Alex DeBrincatseemed relaxedabout signing a long-term contract during his end-of-season interview. The 25-year-old left winger is onerestricted free agentwith arbitration rights that will cost the Senators $9 million to qualify his rights for 2023-24. He is also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
That led to speculation that the Senators could trade DeBrincat before or during the 2023 NHL Draft (June 28-29). If they do, they need to quickly find another top-six winger. They already have a trade history with the Coyotes after thatacquireJakob Chychrun on 1 March. Maybe they would try to make a deal for Clayton Keller.
Keller would replace DeBrincat onSecond line of senatorsalong with center Josh Norris and winger Drake Batherson. While he's not a sniper like DeBrincat, his playmaking skills and ability to play on both wings would still make him a great addition.
Keller's $7.2 million cap hit is expensive, but likely cheaper than re-signing DeBrincat. The Senators have no picks in the first three rounds of this year's draft, but can give up their 2024 first-round pick if they land a player on a long-term contract. They may have to say goodbye to a striker like Shane Pinto or Ridley Grieg as part of the return.
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At havedismissedRon Hextall as general manager in April hired the Pittsburgh Penguins former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas aschairman of hockey operations. He will be tasked with finding a suitable general manager to build the roster depth around aging stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang for another run at the Stanley Cup.
Clayton Keller could be a good match if he is available. Able to play either wing, he could fit them alongside CrosbyFirst lineon the right wing or with Malkin on the left wing on the second line. He would also have good insurance when left fielder Jake Guentzel leaves next summer as an unrestricted free agent.
Keller's contract ensures that he will be around for at least Crosby and Malkin's contracts. With $20.2 million in cap space and 15 active playersunder contractfor 2023-24, they can afford Keller's annual cap hit, but may have to cut a payroll to have enough room to fill the rest of the lineup.
The Penguins wouldn't have much to offer the Coyotes from their current roster. Future defender Owen Pickering and goalkeeper Joel Blomqvist may have to be part of the return, even if it is theirsview pool. Their first-round pick (14th overall) in this year's draft could entice the Coyotes as part of the deal.