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Coyotes’ co-owner tells Kevin Allen that the team isn’t engaging in a full rebuild

Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney made quite the headlines after he suggested that just about every player on his team save Oliver Ekman-Larsson might be pried away from his team via trade offers, so it's not that surprising that Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc took a very different tack while speaking with USA Today's Kevin Allen:

"I would love to see (coach) Dave Tippett's reaction if someone said, 'You focus on attempting to lose,'" Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc told USA TODAY Sports. "You would watch his head explode."

Players will be moved before the March 2 trade deadline, LeBlanc said, and those deals will be done to improve the team as quickly as possible, not to improve its draft status in what is considered a strong draft year.

"I don't think we need to go from the chassis up," LeBlanc said. "We have those really good solid pieces in the young talent we have on the team. … A complete rebuild is when you knock it down and begin again, and we don't need to do that. We just need to layer in some other pieces that fit better."

The Coyotes, 20-27-7 entering Tuesday, are on their way to their first losing season since 2008-09, though they had gone 4-2-2 since the All-Star break.

"We think this team is better than what our record is," LeBlanc said. "But we are on our way to our third consecutive year of missing the playoffs, and that is simply not good enough."

No one is saying exactly who will be dealt, but likely players are center Antoine Vermette, defenseman Zbynek Michalek and wingers Martin Erat and David Moss, all of whom will be unrestricted free agents next summer.

The biggest name under consideration is Keith Yandle, who led Coyotes scorers and ranked fifth among all NHL defensemen with 39 points in 54 games. If the Coyotes trade Yandle, they will want a significant return, and it might be in their best interest to wait until the summer when interested teams will be less constrained by the salary cap.

Continued....

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: david+moss, keith+yandle, martin+erat, phoenix+coyotes, zbynek+michalek

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com