Coyotes Armed And Dangerous?
Why did the Phoenix Coyotes, after spending 3 years downsizing their payroll, shipping verterans all over the map and replenishing their dilapidated farm system, suddenly become the surprise player in last summer’s unique NHL free agent market?After many of the teams took on a wait and see attitude, the coyotes continued to shop like crazy, and now see themselves stacked with talent, leadership, and most importantly, in an excellent condition for the upcoming CBA, as the coyotes still grace 30 million.
Last summer in July the frenzy started slow with a signing of Boyd Deveraux who gives coyote forwards some more grit and dedication. Only a day after, the coyotes added a top blue liner with the signing of Sean O’Donnel. Next on the market, was Mike Ricci, coming from a coyote rival in the Sharks, Ricci see’s the coyotes as a perfect fit. The next 2 shocked me the most, on Aug 9th, Bret Hull along with his 741 career goals came to the valley. After being offered more money in Dallas, the Coyotes still lured him in, by letting him know how important his role would be, on the promising young talented squad with the coyotes. In September, the Coyotoes salitified there powerplay needs with Petr Nedved. He will bring the sniper attitude phonix needs to realy compliment the young forwards.
Last season in mid January, phoenix was in a playoff spot, and batteling for first in the pacific division, but after losing star forward Ladislav Nagy, and fast D man David Tanabe, the Coyotes began to slide. And it was the best thing for them says Mike Barnett. Without the slide the coyotes would not have made great trades later in the year. Lets not forget the Coyotes bringing in Youngster Mike Comrie, and in a payroll dump, the Coyotes got rid of highest players, such as Hrdina, Gratton, Vannanen, Savage, and aquired Mike Rupp from the Devils, and start defenceman Derek Morris, and great young prospect Keith Ballard. Then at the NHL entry draft, they aquired Jason Chimera from the oilers. And recent trade of Daymond Lankow, in exhange for Oleg Saprykin, and Denis Gauthier.
The most amazing part of all these signings and deals, is the money issue. Hull signed a contract for 2.5 million, after recieving 5 mil with the red wings last season. O’Donnel went from 2.7 to 2.0 with the yotes. Ricci down from 3.o to 1.7, and Deveraux signed for a little 0.6 after getting 1.6 last season. The coyotes now stand at 30 million payroll, One of the lowest in the league, and have an average age, of only 24. They are young, cheap and have great depth. The only part they need to fix now, is goaltending, and coaching.
Brian Boucher has the talent to be a talented goalie, but im not sure if he is capable of the number 1 position, They recently aquired Brent Johnson from the blues, who also signed for 2 million less then last year. Neither of these goalies have a great confidence, the coyotes may look into a starting goalie, there a rumors of a return of Burke. The Coyotes have the goalie of the future in David Leneveu.
As for coaching, the firing of Bob Francis may have been a mistake, he is a great coach, but is it true the The great one may hit the bench, he is still pondering the thought, but the fit may not be right, he should stay in the owners box, and consider hiring Brent Sutter after being layed off from chicago.
With the return of injured players phoenix has a long list of talent with.
As for the yotes when the NHL Continues, i predict a playoff berth, and a battle for the top in the pacific division. Your thoughts?