The Arizona Coyotes have traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek and a conditional third-round draft pick (2015) to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for 19-year-old prospect Maxim Letunov. Arizona will also retain 50% of Michalek’s salary.
The pieces continue to fall as Arizona is right in the middle of rebuild mode.
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Michalek has been rumored to be on the trading block for a while now due to his pending unrestricted free agent status. He also carried a cap hit of $4 million.
In addition to basically being a rental, there were also questions about whether Michalek’s injury, belived to be a concussion, would make him less attractive to other teams. Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney, said prior to the trade that there was still significant interest in the stay-at-home defenseman.
"“The injury does not help the process (of trading Michalek) but I wouldn’t say it hurts. He’s well on the road to recovery and there is significant interest in his services.”, Maloney told Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan."
As for what Arizona got in return, Letunov is a prospect that is still a few years out. He is currently playing with the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League (USHL). On the 2014-15 season, he has registered 22 goals, 31 assists totaling 53 points in 47 games played. Those numbers are good enough to rank him third in the USHL in terms of points.
Letunov was drafted in the second-round (52nd overall) of 2014 NHL Entry Draft. With his aqcuisition, Arizona now has four of the top 60 picks from the 2014 draft.
After this season, he will move on to Boston University to play hockey during the 2015-16 season.
"“Maxim is a big, skilled center with excellent upside. He will play at Boston University next season who do a great job developing players. We are excited to have him join our organization.”, Maloney said in a statement released by the team on Monday."
Arizona has done well to set themselves up for success soon, but don’t expect to see Letunov for some time. He still needs time to develop, but he has good raw talent that should translate well to the NHL.
There is still time remaining before the end of the deadline and there are still rumors surrounding Arizona, keep an eye out for more trades to come.