After acquiring him last month in a deal for Darcy Kuemper, the Arizona Coyotes signed Conor Timmins to a two-year contract. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the deal will carry an average annual value of $850K.
Timmins, 22, was the 32nd overall pick in 2017 and looked like he was on the fast track to the NHL after dominating the OHL and the World Juniors through the early part of the 2017-18 season. Unfortunately, he ran into concussion issues that kept him out the entire 2018-19 season, slowing his development in its tracks.
Healthy now and contributing, Timmins played in 31 games for the Colorado Avalanche this past year, registering seven assists. He even suited up for 10 playoff games, showing he’d made the jump comfortably to the NHL level. The Avalanche were in desperate need of a goaltender after Philipp Grubauer surprisingly signed with the Seattle Kraken, and Timmins was a price they could reasonably pay given how many other young defensemen they have in the system.
For Arizona though, he represents a brand new kind of asset and a potential long-term partner for Jakob Chychrun. The team has been using veteran defensemen for years, failing to really develop any of their own other than Chychrun and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Timmins comes in at an early enough time in his career that he still represents huge amounts of excess value if the Coyotes can coax the best of him out in Arizona. When on his game, Timmins has an elite defensive stick and can move the puck quickly up to his forwards, contributing offensively at times.
At just $850K, he is the perfect mix for a team like Arizona–cheap and young. The team has slashed its payroll dramatically while taking on cap hits that bring it to the lower limit and needs players like Timmins to log big minutes in the rebuild. For the young defenseman, a two-year deal gives him some security while also likely providing him with a chance to play a lot for the Coyotes, setting up a potential payday in arbitration two years from now.