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December 27, 2016 | 11:04am ET
Coyotes will be active on trade front
TheFourthPeriod.com

The Arizona Coyotes are coming out of the holiday break knowing their season, to date, has been a disappointment and changes are on the way.

Coyotes GM John Chayka understands the team is very much in the middle of its rebuild, and while injuries have altered their performance this season, that won't get in the way of how he and his staff do business.

"Our strategy is to integrate youth," Chayka told the Arizona Republic. "At some point, I think you have to cut the fat away, take the training wheels off and these are the results for our group. It's a young group. It's a core group, though, that we think can grow into something special, so we're still committed to it."

Forwards Martin Hanzal, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata, the club's leading scorer, and defenseman Michael Stone, are all set to become unrestricted free agents in July, and all four players are likely to be dealt prior to the March 1 trade deadline.

Captain Shane Doan is also in the final year of his contract, though his fate rests with him and the Coyotes will only deal him if he tells them he's willing to explore options.

Hanzal, 29, has a limited no-trade clause where he can list up to seven teams he will not accept a move to. It's unclear which teams are on his list, but a number of playoff contending clubs have inquired about his services.

Vrbata will also command significant interest, especially due to his $1 million salary cap hit.

The Coyotes' struggles at both ends of the ice are well documented -- the club ranks 29th in the NHL in both goals-for and goals-against per game -- but the primary concern appears to be putting the puck in the net.

It's believed Chayka wants to add young goal-scoring to his roster and will look for ways to acquire that this season and during the off-season.

"Our goal is just to continue to get better and be a better team at the end of the year than we were at the beginning of the year, and we expect that to be a really good team," Chayka said. "Certainly we're hoping to get some better results here. I think our process is continuing to trend in the right direction, so our results should come. They're lagging right now, but they should come and get some wins. Winning is the best thing for everybody."

 
 
 

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