A Look At the New Coyotes
The Phoenix Coyotes without a doubt have made the most changes this summer. New management has made a lot of cost cutting deals to rebuild the franchise. Key players once thought to be vital parts of the team found new homes last season and this off-season.Here is a break down of what happened:
In- Zac Bierk
Out- Nikolai Khabibulin
With the spectacular play of Sean Burke last season he received a 3 year deal. Khabibulin was dealt to Tampa Bay during the season. Tampa was glad to get him. He was holding out the last couple seasons but finally was dealt. He was a great goalie but Burke was clearly playing too well to not resign. Fans also liked Sean a lot as well. A trip to the All-Star game signified the type of season he had. Robert Esche will be Sean’s back up. Zac Bierk is the 3rd goaltender.
In- Daniel Markov, Paul Mara, Todd Simpson
Out- Jyrki Lumme, Stan Neckar
The loss of Lumme was kind of big. He is an offensive defenseman but his large 4 million dollar contract was why he has moved. It’s evident the Coyotes are going for a younger and cheaper team.
Stan Neckar was a tough defenseman but was traded to Tampa.
The addition of Markov will be a welcomed one. I am a Leafs fan and have seen Markov a lot. He’s a great hitter and shot blocker. He’s tough and dependable which is why Phoenix fans will like him. Paul Mara is a young man with some promise. Tampa traded him to the Coyotes in the Nikolai Khabibulin deal. All in all the defense has improved slightly but they are very young and need time to improve.
Also of note Teppo Numminen is the new team captain.
In- Sergei Berezin, Todd Warriner Michal Handzus, Daymond Langkow, Ladislav Nagy, Landon Wilson, Mike Johnson
Out- Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Robert Reichel, Mikael Renberg, Joe Juneau Travis Green, Juha Yionen.
Sergei Berezin is an entertaining player to watch. He has great puck handling skills but is not a team player. In Toronto we were getting tired of him trying to score a goal all by himself. Maybe in Phoenix he can change that, but I doubt it. Todd Warriner and Mike Johnson should be good additions. Johnson has good talent but need to play more with an edge. Daymond Langkow was acquired from the Flyers after the Coyotes let the Flyers talk with Roenick before the free agent season began. Many feel it was a “thank you” trade. Bob Clarke states he needed the 1st round pick because he feels his team needs young players to avoid getting too old. Nagy and Handzus are 2 great youngsters from St. Louis, which came in the blockbuster Tkachuk trade. They should only improve and have great seasons with the addition responsibility and ice time they will get.
Loosing Roenick and Tkachuk is going to hurt. And I mean H-u-r-t. These are 2 premier power forwards. Their scoring and physical game will be missed. Tkachuk was dealt at the deadline and his loss resulted in Phoenix missing the playoffs. Huge huge huge losses right here, and this is only the beginning. The only upside is they saved a lot of money by trading Tkachuk and letting Roenick walk. They should have dealt Roenick at the deadline also instead of letting him go for nothing. Reichel and Renberg were playing in Europe last season and both dealt to Toronto. Both have good skills and will be looking to show the NHL what they can do in North America. Juneau signed with Montreal and won’t be missed that much. He plays a good hard game though which any team could use. Travis Green is a tough player who can really aggravate players and will also be missed. Yionen was dealt to Tampa for Warriner, which is minor and won’t have much of an effect. I would take Warriner over him any day.
So all in all it was a team make over this year. Phoenix got younger and cheaper but at the expense of the present. They have gutted this team and decided to rebuild. They have lost a lot of grit and a lot of talent. This upcoming season will see how they fair…but as most rebuilding teams- it remains the same.
“Things will get worse before they get better.”