GLENDALE – The Coyotes didn’t make any trades on Wednesday before the NHL trade deadline, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying.
General Manager Don Maloney said the asking prices for certain players were simply too high, and the team didn't want to part with critical assets.
Maloney: “There were some players there that we liked but when you start talking about (giving up) multiple (draft) picks and multiple second-round picks, I’m telling you, it doesn’t look like much now, but three and four and five years from now when you’re looking at it and saying ‘where are all of our players?’ - there’s nobody there, that’s why. We’re just very cautious of overspending in that area for purely rentals.”
Despite not making a deal on Wednesday, Maloney said he was pleased how open the team’s new owners were to getting involved in serious trade talks for key players.
“We were involved in some of the bigger deals, which involved significantly increasing our payroll, and I went to the ownership and they were all behind it and all for it,” Maloney said. “We got the approvals, we just couldn’t finish the deals. For any Coyotes fan, it’s an encouraging sign. The ownership was ready, willing and able to expand the budget if the deal made sense. That was encouraging.”
Maloney said he and the team must quickly turn the page and focus on the final 20 games of the season.
“We like our team,” Maloney said. “Adding (Martin) Erat was a key for us. If we can stay healthy and get Martin Hanzal back healthy, that really sets our forward group well. Defensively, we are where we are. Hopefully it’s good enough. And if Mike (Smith) continues to play the way he did last night we’ll be in great shape here.”
Erat, whom the Coyotes acquired via a trade with Washington on Tuesday night, arrived at Jobing.com Arena in time for Wednesday’s practice but his luggage did not. Thus, he did not skate with his new teammates.
He did work out off the ice and then addressed the Arizona media for the first time.
“I’m very excited be here,” Erat said. “I’ve been playing against this organization for a long time - when I was in Nashville - and I know it’s a great organization.”
Erat said he’s eager to make his debut on Thursday vs. Montreal, in any role assigned by Head Coach Dave Tippett.
“I really don’t care about where I fit (in the lineup),” Erat said. “I’m all about winning. The first thing that comes to my mind is to make the playoffs.”
Tippett likes Erat’s versatility.
“He’s a solid player in all situations,” Tippett said. “We need everybody to contribute in a lot of different areas of the game. I feel like that’s one of his strengths. He can play either wing – he’s actually played some center this year, too. He makes good plays in traffic. He’s just a player that touches a lot of little parts of the game that help you win. He’s around the puck a lot. That’s what we want.”
Coyotes captain Shane Doan also is excited to have Erat join the mix.
“Everyone here has so much respect for the way he plays and how he does things,” Doan said. “He’s a good player. To be able to add someone like that to our lineup is big… He just holds on to the puck so well and he’s competitive and makes good plays. To add a player like that, it’s exciting”.
• Hanzal, who missed Tuesday’s game because of a lower-body injury, did not practice Wednesday. Tippett said he is questionable for Thursday’s home game vs. Montreal.
• Defenseman Derek Morris practiced on Wednesday and is expected to play on Thursday. Morris missed most of Tuesday’s game vs. Vancouver after being hit in the eye with a stick.
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