The Arizona Coyotes have traded traded defenseman Kevin Connauton and a 2020 third-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche for center Carl Soderberg, they announced Tuesday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman first reported the deal moments earlier.
The trade adds a much-needed forward for Arizona, which is trying to bolster its offensive firepower after missing the playoffs by four points in the standings last season. Soderberg had a career-high 23 goals in 82 games last season for the Avs, which ironically was the team that beat out the Coyotes for the final playoff spot.
The 33-year-old Soderberg scored on 12.2% of his shots, which would’ve ranked fourth on the Coyotes last season among skaters that played at least 20 games.
Formerly with the Boston Bruins, Soderberg scored more than 20 goals for the first time in his career last year. His previous career high was 16 goals, which he did twice: 2017-18 with Colorado and 2013-14 with Boston, his second year in the league. He’s now going into his eighth NHL season.
According to CapFriendly, the Coyotes get Soderberg on the final year of his five-year, $4.75 million AAV deal. That will be his cap hit for Arizona, which will pay him a base salary of $4 million. The deal comes with a modified no-trade clause. They shed Connauton’s second year of a two-year, $1.375 million AAV contract for a net cap increase of $3.375 million.
Connauton’s standing with the Coyotes declined some in 2018-19 after he earned a two-year contract last offseason, and The Athletic‘s Craig Morgan reported Monday that the defenseman would likely be playing elsewhere next season.
The 29-year-old played 72 games for the Coyotes and scored 11 goals two seasons ago, but played only 50 games last year and scored one goal with seven assists. His average time on ice actually increased last year compared to the year before, but his relative Corsi-for percentage was a career-low minus-5.2.
It didn’t help matters for Connauton that Arizona re-signed defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin to a one-year contract this offseason. That gave the Coyotes eight NHL defensemen under contract for next season, which is one more than a club would typically carry.