The circus which surrounded John Scott since he entered the NHL played to a full three rings on Friday.
First, there’s the scenario about his ascendancy to All-Star status, the fact he was waived three times by the Coyotes this season alone and his ultimate value to Arizona, all created one of the most bizarre scenarios in recent years.
There is no question Scott’s ability and value is sub-par NHL. The fact he played in 11 of the Coyotes 43 games to date speaks volume to his worth. The deal which sent Scott to Montreal Friday represents his seventh NHL team and the most games he played in any one season was 56 for the Sabres in the 2012-13 season. In that year, Scott, a left-wing, scored one goal for one scoring point, was minus 12 and accrued 125 penalty minutes.
His value diminished to the point that he appeared in three games of the Coyotes previous 15 games. That span dated from Dec. 6 until his trade Friday.
On paper, the Scott transaction was part of a three-team transaction. First, the Coyotes sent defenseman Stefan Elliott to Nashville for defenseman Victor Bartley. The Coyotes immediately send Bartley and Scott to Montreal for defenseman Jarred Tinordi and forward Stefan Fournier. The key to the deal, from the Coyotes standpoint, is Tinordi. In practice Friday, Tinordi was paired with veteran Zbynek Michalek, but coach Dave Tippett said that pairing could change.
“When you’re able to get a good player and good player for the future, you try and get that player,” Tippett said, in reference to Tinordi, said before Saturday’s game. “Many times, a change of scenery is good for a player and sometimes, the trade is a business transaction.”
In speaking with reporters before Saturday’s game at home against the Devils, Tippett never mentioned Scott nor Elliott by name, and was asked briefly about the transaction. Instead, he focused on the Coyotes’ recent inability to kill off penalties and suggested some solutions Arizona is trying to correct that aspect of their game.
Scott’s Limited Value
Though his remarks were limited on the Scott deal, there is no question the trade has a residual effect around the league. The biggest concern is how could a player of Scott’s limited ability catapult him into the upper of echelons of the league with names like Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Alex Ovenchkin, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
Caught in the scenario is his All-Star status. Voted by the fans as a captain, Scott’s departure has the league scrambling for both an explanation for this honor and how the NHL will settle on a replacement. Each team must be represented at the All-Star game in Nashville later this month, and according to Tippett, “I have no idea how that will work.”
The suggestion here is that Don Maloney, the club’s general manager, will huddle with NHL officials over the next several days and figure out something.
For now, the Coyotes believed they strengthen their team with the acquisition of Tinordi, the Canadiens number one pick and 22nd overall in the 2010 draft. At 6-6, 230 pounds, Tinordi will be 24 next month, but has played sparingly in the NHL. In parts of four seasons, the native of Bernsville, Minn, played in 48 games with Montreal and now is part of the eight defensemen currently at Tippett’s disposal.
That number includes the firm set of Michael Stone, Klas Dahlbeck, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Connor Murphy, Nicklas Grossmann and Michalek. Add Tinordi and newly-acquired Kevin Connaution from Columbus earlier this week and there will be likely healthy scratches each game.
“Competition is always good, and we have competition,” Tippett said. “Also, the depth guards against injury.”
Now, Tippett’s desire for depth at the blue line seems a by-product of the Scott scenario. With Scott off the Coyotes hands and into the league’s basket of the “odd and curious,” the feeling in the desert that the Coyotes can resume their quest for a playoff spot without the Scott circus tent at center ice.
Mark Brown is a former sports editor for daily newspapers in the Philadelphia and Cincinnati markets. He was named Best Sports Columnist, honorable mention 2004 by the Associated Press Society of Ohio. He is a contributor to major daily newspapers, including the Chicago Sun Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Milwaukee Journal, Arizona Republic, Nashville Tennessean and the Associated Press. He was a Featured Columnist for bleacherreport.com and covered the Arizona Coyotes.