Phoenix Coyotes Drive For The Playoffs.

jonathon michaelsContributor IJanuary 20, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 16:  Shane Doan #19 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Minnesota Wild at Arena on January 16, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Wild 6-4.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As of the 20th of January the Phoenix Coyotes sit not so comfortably in the fifth spot of the Western Conference Playoff race. With 32 games left mostly against western conference opponents the Coyotes will need to add some scoring at or before the deadline to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. As most of us are aware the Phoenix Coyotes are currently owned by the National Hockey League meaning that Phoenix General Manager Don Maloney will have limited funds to spend in trying to bolster their scoring. However with Ice Edge Holdings waiting in the wings to finalize a deal to purchase the club for the NHL, which is rumored to be done at the end of the regular season at the very latest could influence how much the NHL will allow Maloney to spend. There are a lot of potential targets that the Coyotes could target at or before the deadline, its just a question on what parts if any of the future the Coyotes will be willing to give up. Many believe that Peter Mueller is one of the biggest bargaining chips the Coyotes have. They also hold two first round picks, their own and Calgary's first round pick which was acquired at the deadline last year for Olli Jokinen. The Coyotes have the cap space but are highly unlikely to acquire free agent to be Ilya Kovalchuk from the Thrashers. Kovalchuk would cost the Coyotes too much of the future for one player who would have a 99% chance of not returning next season. So from there we move on to Jeff Carter. Carter is most likely staying in Philadelphia, however rumors are that Carter and teammate Scott Hartnel had a falling out over Hartnel's wife supposedly having an affair with Carter. To get Carter the Coyotes would most likely have to part ways with not only Mueller and one of the first but most likely another top prospect such as Victor Tikhonov who is currently playing on loan in the KHL but has been ask to return to the Coyotes in recent days. From there we move on to Ray Whitney. Whitney to me would be the best fit for the Coyotes team. He has playoff experience and he brings yet another veteran leader into that locker room for the stretch run. But probably more importantly he can score even strength and on the power play which has really been the Coyotes Achilles Heel this Season. There is another attractive name that has recently surfaced in trade rumors and Tomas Plekanec from the Montreal Canadians. He could be had for not as a high price as a Jeff Carter but Plekanec brings everything to the ice that Carter does. However Plekanec did suffer an injury against the Blues on Wednesday night and the severity of the injury is not yet known. Some other guys the Coyotes could target are listed below.

Alexander Frolov- Los Angeles Kings

Andrew Cogliano- Edmonton Oilers

Matt Stajan- Toronto Maple Leafs

Niklas Hagman- Toronto Maple Leafs

Alexei Ponikarovsky- Toronto Maple Leafs

 Doug Weight- New York Islanders

Sam Gagner- Edmonton Oilers

I'm not saying that all the guys listed above would be good fits in Dave Tippet's system but they are all rumored to be on the move from the respective clubs.