Phoenix Coyotes Free Agency 2010 – Their moves so far
GLENDALE – Over the past week, the Phoenix Coyotes began filling in the holes in their lineup due to players who left via free agency, who had their contracts bought out, or signed via free agency. Now I'm quite sure that the Coyotes aren't done with filling the holes in their roster yet. Let's take a look at a summary of the what the Coyotes did this past week to fill their roster spots:
(Cap numbers courtesy of Capgeek.com)
F – Ray Whitney – 2 year/$6 million dollar contract ($3 million a year) – Acquired Via Free Agency – I spent some considerable time looking over Whitney's play over the past couple of years (Via NHL Gamecenter) to see what exactly he brings to the table and how it can help the Phoenix Coyotes. Simply put, Ray Whitney is the complete offensive package. He has incredible vision of the ice, can make plays (and score goals) out of nothing, play the point, has a great shot, and isn't afraid to go to the net. Add to that his playoff and Stanley Cup experience (Whitney won the 2006 Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes defeating the Edmonton Oilers in seven games) and you have one hell of a signing for the Coyotes.
D – Derek Morris – 4 Year/$11 million dollar contract ($2.75 million a year) – Re-signed via Free Agency
D – Sami Lepisto – 1 Year/$800,000 contract – Re-signed as a restricted free agent
Two solid signings to help shore up the Coyotes defensive depth. The loss of Zbynek Michalek to the Penguins hurts the overall depth of the Coyotes but it's not something that can be overcome via free agency. There's still time to shore up the defensive depth of the Coyotes but as of now, the Coyotes are in better shape than people think.
G – Al Montoya – 1 Year/$750,000 contract – Re-Signed – It's uncertain where Montoya fits in Coyotes GM Don Maloney's master plan as the Coyotes have many goalies in their system at this moment in time. It's looking more and more like Montoya and Matt Climie (below) will be the goaltending tandem in San Antonio to start the season. However, when it comes to the big picture, it's uncertain if Montoya is being groomed for the Coyotes down the road or if he's just a depth signing for those ‘just in case' scenarios.
C – Andrew Ebbett – 1 Year/$500,000 Contract – Signed via free agency – This looks more like a 3rd or 4th line depth signing at center for the Coyotes as Ebbett doesn't really have the tools to be a top 6 player in the NHL. He's fast and has the tools to be successful but up to this point in his career, he hasn't shown it in the NHL. Granted, Ebbett did spend time last season injured first with a concussion and then with a finger injury.
D – Nolan Yonkman – 1 Year/$550,000 contract – Could be a darkhorse to make the Coyotes roster this season. Having signed with the Coyotes because they offered more money and opportunity than the Nashville Predators (who reportedly wanted to keep him to help younger players develop) Yonkman will have the opportunity to not only help the other players in San Antonio to develop into NHL players but may have the opportunity to battle for a bottom 3 defensive spot on the Coyotes roster. Yonkman is a great character signing based on the community work he did with the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators AHL affiliate).
RW – Mathieu Beaudoin -1 year/$500,000 contract
D – Garrett Stafford – 2 year/$1.2 million dollar contract ($600,000 per year)
G – Matt Climie – 1 year/$750,000 contract
These three players are lumped together as they are casualties of the Dallas Stars financial and organizational problems. These three players were key components of the Stars AHL affiliate Texas Stars run to the Calder Cup finals this past season. Given their ages (26, 30, and 27 respectively) these players look to be more of an overall organizational depth signing for the Coyotes than anything. Beaudoin and Stafford might get the opportunity to battle for one of the Coyotes roster spots this season. However, they chances are they all will probably be sent to San Antonio to help out what was one of the worst teams in the AHL last season.