Despite a valiant effort to begin the season, the Arizona Coyotes have fallen to the bottom part of the standings and are firmly in the Connor Bedard race. That is no surprise, of course, as they are in the very early stages of a rebuild and were thought by many to have entered the 2022-23 season with the worst roster in the entire league.
While their current roster may not be very strong, however, things are looking up for them when it comes to the future. They have a number of solid young prospects in the pipeline, and have a surplus of draft picks in both 2023 and 2024 thanks to helping opposing teams offload contracts. Those picks should increase even further in the near future, as they have a number of players they will be looking to move ahead of this year’s trade deadline.
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One of those players is Shayne Gostisbehere, a defenseman whom the Philadelphia Flyers offloaded to the Coyotes during the 2021 offseason. After struggling during his final years with the Flyers, the 29-year-old has revived his career in the desert, and currently sits second amongst his teammates in scoring with 28 points through 42 games. While his defensive play won’t wow anybody, there will still be plenty of interest in him given his puck-moving abilities. Here are three teams that would make for great fits.
New York Islanders
At the time of writing this, the New York Islanders hold down the final wild card position in the Eastern Conference, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are hot on their tail. In order to try and solidify their opportunity for a postseason berth, Lou Lamoriello needs to find a way to add offense to his lineup, and Gostisbehere would certainly help do just that.
The Islanders’ 133 goals scored this season ranks 21st amongst all NHL clubs, proving the fact that they need some help when it comes to offensive productivity. Up front, players like Mat Barzal, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee are doing their part, but aside from Noah Dobson on the back end, there hasn’t been much blue line production from this club.
Also working in the Islanders benefit here is that they have the space to trade for Gostisbehere’s full $4.5 million cap hit if they wish to do so, which would lower the price for Lamoriello. Given the veteran defenseman’s struggles in his own end, he could likely be had for a third-round pick, which could prove to be a bargain for the Isles if he were to continue his current rate of production.
All season long, the Calgary Flames have been searching for a top-nine forward to help contribute to their offense. That remains their big interest, though they have yet to find a team willing to engage, and may soon need to change their path of direction. If they do indeed decide to fill a different void, adding Gostisbehere could make plenty of sense.
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While the Flames do have plenty of defensive depth, they have missed Oliver Kylington’s creativity on the back end this season. The 25-year-old has yet to play this season due to a personal matter, and appears less and less likely to return at all in 2022-23 as each day passes. If Brad Treliving is confident that he indeed will not return, bringing in Gostisbehere as his replacement for the remainder of the season could make some sense for this Flames group.
Unfortunately for the Flames, they are not in the same position as the Islanders when it comes to cap space, as they currently have just over $1.9 million to work with. This means that they would have to find a way to move a bit of money out, though the Coyotes would have no problem retaining 50 percent of his contract. That said, the dollars retained would force the Flames to give up more than the Islanders, likely raising the cost to a second-round pick instead of a third.
Detroit Red Wings
Though the Detroit Red Wings sit six points behind the Islanders for a wild card position, they also have three games in hand, meaning that they are by no means out of the race for a playoff spot. There were hopes that this team could be playoff caliber in 2022-23, though it isn’t exactly a high-pressure situation for Steve Yzerman given that he is doing a great job of setting them up for long-term success.
Because of the long-term picture in Detroit, there is no reason for Yzerman to make a huge deadline move in order to try and give his team the push they need to get into the playoffs. That said, the way they have played this season is deserving of some help, and bringing in a player like Gostisbehere who won’t require a heavy cost could be an option they consider.
Much like the Islanders, the Red Wings have struggled to find the back of the net this season, having done so just 127 times in their 41 games. Part of that is due to their power play, which ranks 20th in the league. Adding Gostisbehere to the mix could help with that, and could serve as potential insurance for Filip Hronek who has been banged up in recent weeks.
Potential Bargain Addition
As mentioned throughout the article, Gostisbehere won’t be a player that costs a ton for interested teams to acquire. While by no means a top-pairing defender, he is a fine third-pairing option who is one of the better puck movers in the entire league. Because of that great puck-moving ability, he should be able to ink himself a nice deal this offseason. The price of that contract could go up even further if he is able to produce like he can for whichever team pulls the trigger on a trade for him before the deadline.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.