Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thumbs Down On Coyote Off-Season

Adam Proteau of the Hockey News isn't impressed with the Coyotes off season moves

And we're not either.


The off-season is not over yet. And we suspect that Don Maloney still has a few tricks up his sleeve. He'll need to because the Yotes are still a ways off from having a team that can compete in the ultra competitive NHL Western Conference.

There's probably enough money to add one very desperately needed scorer to the team. The Coyotes could use a winger, preferably someone who plays the left side and another center wouldn't hurt either.

It's likely though that the next Coyote to hit town won't be a free agent. Aside from Alex Tanguay, there aren't any front line offensive players available. Tanguay would be a nice signing but it appears that there is lots of competition for his services. There are a number of roll of the dice type forwards still left on the shelves including Petr Sykora, Maxim Afinogenov and Miro Satan. These are guys could give you 25 goals or an Excedrin headache. The problem is that many of these players will have options to go to Europe or Russia for a better than bargain rate contracts.

The best chances to find a scoring froward is going to be through trades.

There are several teams (Ottawa, San Jose, Philadelphia, New York Rangers, Boston, Chicago) who have real cap problems. Many are facing even bigger problems with restricted free agents looking for big paydays. Maloney may be able to pick up a serviceable player on the cheap or perhaps a premium player (Phil Kessel comes to mind) albeit at the cost of future assets. Given the Coyotes urgency to ice a playoff contending team this year, I would not be opposed (in fact I would strongly support) moving draft picks and players already in the system if premium players (uhhhh, did I mention Phil Kessel) become available.

And finally, there's a chance that Maloney may be able to move his one bad contract -- Ed Jovanoski -- in exchange for help at multiple positions. The Coyotes look OK on defense and if 1--2 youngsters blossom this year they might even be considered deep. There are also capable free agent defensemen that could still be signed. Moving Jovo would not only free up a bundle of salary cap space but could bring back significant talent up front.

No matter which way GMDM turns, the Coyotes still have time to upgrade the team. The job is not done here yet. And the real job, selling tickets, is just getting underway. This franchise desperately needs some juice to excite the fan base and sell tickets. Lauri Korpikoski and Adrian Aucoin are nice acquisitions but they are not going to inspire the fans. There's no question that the Coyotes off season to date has been a yawner but we're only midway through the second period. There's plenty of time to left turn things around.

And putting a winning product on the ice in Phoenix is the biggest off season job any NHL GM is facing this year.

1 comment:

  1. Boy, The Hockey News sure came down with both feet. Let's hope you are right and there's still more to come this off season. Nice article, well written.