Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 2/27/12

MONTREAL - JUNE 26: Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney speaks at the podium during the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 26, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, Ariz. About a month ago, general manager Don Maloney and coach Dave Tippett circled a three-week stretch in February that would determine the Coyotes trade-deadline philosophy. If the team made a convincing argument for playoff contention during that stretch, they would join the ample ranks of deadline buyers. If they didnt climb out of the nether regions of the Western Conference standings, they would be among the few sellers. Names like Ray Whitney and Adrian Aucoin could have been on the table. Maybe even captain Shane Doan, if the offer was right and Doan was convinced that leaving was the best thing for the franchises long-term prospects. Thankfully for all involved, the latter scene never played out, allowing Maloney to don his happy face when addressing the teams lack of activity at the NHLs Monday trade deadline. This will be short and sweet, said Maloney, before feigning a quick exit from a press conference at Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes weren't a buyer on Monday, but there was no consternation on that front. With so many clubs in contention for the postseason, only a handful were willing to unload players. That scarcity in the market drove the asking price too high for Maloneys taste. Its all about price and acquisition price, Maloney said. The cost to acquire third or fourth-line depth, it just didnt make sense to me. With the Coyotes on a torrid 10-0-1 run in February and the players settling into their roles, Maloney said recently that he didnt want to give up anything off his existing roster in order to add more depth. He stuck with that plan, acquiring Columbus center Antoine Vermette for minor league goalie Curtis McElhinney, a 2012 second-round pick and a conditional 2013 fifth-round pick, then standing pat. Vermette may not be the blue-chip center Coyotes fans have dreamed about, but hes a strong two-way player who fits well with Tippetts style. He gives Doan an offensively gifted center to work with for the first time in a long while, and he adds long-term depth at the position, because both he and Martin Hanzal are under contract for several years. Thats a great start, Maloney said. Now can we get that high-end offensive guy if thats what we need, or maybe a play-maker to help the wingers? That and many other questions will have to wait for the offseason. Its clear now the Coyotes are focused solely on the final push of the 2011-2012 season. That includes tracking down the first division title in franchise history. To put a banner up would be nice, Doan said. We control our own destiny if we want to get that done. If the Coyotes do accomplish that feat, it will be on the current groups shoulders. This is it, Whitney said. Were not getting any more help. But just so were clear, Whitney would like to clear up one misconception about this current groups recent run of success. When you go unbeaten in 10 of 11, everybody says its the chemistry. If you lose 10 of 11 they (complain) about the chemistry, Whitney said. This chemistry bull can go. Id say its more hard work, execution and the guy in net (Mike Smith). Thats been the key, and thats whats going to carry us.
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