All Eyes Shift to Phil Kessel With Christian Dvorak Gone

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 22: Phil Kessel #81 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck against the Colorado Avalanche during the NHL game at Gila River Arena on March 22, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Avalanche defeated the Coyotes 5-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With the Arizona Coyotes continuing to purge the roster and accumulate as much draft capital as possible, the next big move to happen will be Phil Kessel.

Christian Dvorak was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for a 1st round (2022) and 2nd round (2024) draft pick. The acquisitions of additional picks continues to bolster an impressive draft cupboard that was once barren and bleak. While the trading of Dvorak is a tough pill to swallow for the fans, the move was an inevitable one. At 25 and arguably the best tradeable asset remaining on the roster, the trade was a must for the club. Under the full scope of a rebuild from the foundation on out, Dvorak would not fit into the long term plans for the team once it is at a level of being ready to compete.

After Dvorak, the biggest asset remaining that must go will be Phil Kessel.

Coming off a bounce back season, Kessel largely played a solid season for the Coyotes. Sporting 43 points over 56 games, Kessel rebounded nicely from the atrocious season he had prior. Even though he had the bounce back season, it had been largely noted that league interest in acquiring Kessel was not very high.

One would have to think if Kessel continues his normal form, teams will start to come knocking on GM Armstrong’s door. Whether that is early in the season, before Christmas or at the trade deadline remains to be seen. The likelihood of a trade deadline move for a team on the doorstep of contending makes the most sense from all parties unless a Canadiens or Avalanche style offer comes along.

After Kessel, it remains to be seen what other pieces could be on the move and we are not talking about the lunacy of an idea that Jakob Chychrun was on that list.

Other targets

Names mentioned in angst by fans and others include players like Clayton Keller however he carries a heavy price tag. Some may point to the fact that the team was able to move Oliver Ekman-Larsson at little cost in terms of retention however they did have to include Conor Garland in the trade with Vancouver. There is also belief amongst NHL executives that once removed from the Coyotes system, OEL may find his form and return to his pre Rick Tocchet days. Unfortunately for the club, they could not take that gamble.

With Keller, he unfortunately falls under the realm of the litany of bad deals the former GM John Chayka handed out. Even still, if Keller finds his form from his rookie year he could still be an important piece of the team moving forward at his age.

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