Coyotes GM calls Maple Leafs trade rumour ‘ridiculous speculation’

Auston Matthews is trying not to get caught up in the NHL draft hype, and says it’s been an amazing experience to be in San Jose and meet some of the players vying for the NHL’s top prize.

Get used to this, John Chayka.

With the NHL Draft and free agency creeping up fast, the air is ripe for rumours — much of it fluffy speculation, some of it dead on.

So when a Phoenix teenager is set to go No. 1 at the draft, and with the Coyotes are considering trading up the draft ladder and the Toronto Maple Leafs holding the top draft selection, trade scenarios are sure to be concocted.

Speculation such as Arizona offering both of its own first-round picks (Nos. 7 and 20) plus either Max Domi or prospect Christian Dvorak (both London Knights teammates of Toronto’s Mitch Marner) to the Maple Leafs in exchange for the right to draft elite hometown prospect Auston Matthews first overall.

“I’m not exactly sure where people come up with this stuff. I personally find some of the reports that are out there are pretty ridiculous speculation,” the league’s youngest GM told Craig Morgan of Tuesday.

“We’re still just in discussions, whether that means moving up or down, and up doesn’t even have to be No. 1.”

(Brief aside: I will eat this keyboard if Toronto actually trades the No. 1 pick. No one wants to be known as the GM that dealt away Matthews.)

Understandably, Chayka would not discuss the offers Arizona has made to move up from No. 7.

“What we’re really looking at it is, does this trade make your team better in the short term and in the long term?” he said, with an eye on his enviable crop of prospects. “We like our players a lot.”

Chayka offered up several updates regarding the Coyotes off-season in his chat with Morgan. Here are a few of the highlights.

  • He expects captain Shane Doan to sign a one-year contract with Arizona before the veteran turns UFA on July 1.
  • On coveted trade piece Martin Hanzal entering a contract year in 2016-17: “I talked to his representatives about his no-trade list, but that’s going to be our standard procedure going forward… I don’t want it to be seen as a leverage point or a bargaining chip. It’s just to say, ‘Let’s get it out in the open so we all know our options.’

    “I wouldn’t have been there if I wasn’t willing to sign Marty to an extension. When he’s playing well, he’s one of our most, if not the most, impactful forward.”

  • Restricted free agents Tobias Rieder, Connor Murphy, Michael Stone, Klas Dahlbeck and Louis Domingue should all expect qualifying offers.
  • Impending UFAs Boyd Gordon, Alex Tanguay, Viktor Tikhonov, Kyle Chipchura, Eric Selleck, Nicklas Grossmann and Anders Lindback are all likely to hit the open market.

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