In case you were living under a rock for the past week, Arizona traded Conor Timmins for Toronto’s Curtis Douglas in a one-for-one trade last week.
For Yotes fans who are unfamiliar with Timmins (I don’t blame you because he only played in 8 games, recorded 0 points, and had an abysmal +/- rating of -8), he was acquired in the 2021 offseason from Colorado in the Darcy Kuemper trade. After signing a two-year, $1.7 million contract, Timmins played two games last season before suffering a season-ending injury and six games this season. As a former first-round draft pick, Timmins has been perceived as having promising talent and potential especially given his height and a great junior career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL and winning gold with Canada in the 2018 World Juniors. However, he has been plagued by injuries, especially in the past few years.
Clearly, Coyotes management perceived Timmins as expendable and was concerned with his history of injuries and, thus, playing capabilities. As the Coyotes are rebuilding, this move shows that the management is making room and giving opportunities for defensemen standouts on the Tucson Roadrunners and highly touted prospects like Victor Soderstrom and Maveric Kamoureux. The departure of Timmins will likely provide additional motivation for the defensemen in the Coyotes organization who are trying to make the show.
Curtis Douglas is a 22-year-old center who was drafted in the 4th round of the 2018 draft by the Dallas Stars. He is best known for being 6’9” and 243 lbs. After the Stars opted not to sign Douglas, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Douglas only has AHL experience, playing for the Toronto Marlies. Many people have critiqued Douglas’ skating ability and speed. He is perceived to be at best an NHL fourth-liner.
Like other people, my main concern with the acquisition of Douglas is his skating ability, especially since games are so fast nowadays. Players who cannot keep up with the speed and intensity will just be left in the dust. However, his style of play and big stature fit well with Arizona’s identity and playing structure. Douglas will likely be a project of the Coyotes and Roadrunners as he needs to continue to develop his game in order to be ready to play in the NHL. However, with patience and hard work, Douglas might be able to take over the fourth line in a couple of years. If I am correct with the Yotes’ intentions with Douglas, this will definitely be an unconventional approach as most teams try to acquire or trade for fourth-line, energy players rather than home-grow them. However, this approach can have a huge pay-off as home-grown talent and development create a sense of loyalty within the player and it will help them transition from the minors to the show.
Upon first glance of the Timmins- Douglas trade, it may seem confusing that the Coyotes traded a young player with little NHL experience and high playing potential for another young player with only AHL playing experience. But this trade exemplifies the Coyotes management’s testaments to the future of the team. It just may take some time for fans and the organization to see the return on investment of this trade.