Last night the Olympics ended with an exciting overtime game in which the Canadian team managed to pull one out with some help from Sidney Crosby. It was a bit of a let down after the late goal with the golie pulled by the US team, but the United States still came home with the Silver in a Tournament that was packed with dangerous teams. While the gold would have been awesome to win, I couldn't be more proud of our guys. The best thing that comes out of The US and Canada winning Medals? It means the Olympic break is over! Don't get me wrong, I love the Olympics, but we have a red hot Coyotes team and NHL season to get back to!
Practice resumed on Wednesday with everyone except Sami Lepisto. Ilya Bryzgalov came back a little earlier than expected when the Russian team was knocked out of the Tourney in the Quarterfinals. That's good for us as he didn't see a ton of action in the Olympics, but enough to keep him sharp. Then he got to come home and get almost all the practice time he would have gotten had he stayed home entirely. There have been a few changes to the team in that Anders Eriksson and Joel Perrault have been assigned to San Antonio for Conditioning Assignments. For those that don't know, this is a way to send them down to San Antonio for no more than 14 days without having to clear waivers. That clears up roster space so that we can either bring someone else in or just keep them off the roster until after the trade deadline when the maximum number of players allowed on the team roster increases.
More on possible moves after the jump...
Speaking of the Trade Deadline, plenty of people have been asking "What are the Coyotes going to do?" Well it's no secret that the Coyotes would love to add another solid defenseman. Some of the names available include: Pavel Kubina - ATL, Joe Corvo - CAR, Aaron Ward - CAR, John-Michael Liles - COL, Milan Jurcina - CMB, The entire defense of the Edmonton Oilers, Carlo Colaiacovo - STL, Tomas Kaberle - TOR, Garnet Exelby - TOR. Those are just the defensemen on the teams that are either toward the bottom of the standings or that need to move a guy (Liles).
In addition, the Coyotes would love to find a scorer that could help them down the stretch run, but finding that at a price that GM Don Maloney would be willing to pay wouldn't be easy. One thing that the Coyotes have going for them in that department is that there seem to be plenty of Pick for Player trades happening lately. In fact this morning the Panthers traded Jordan Leopold to Pittsburgh for a 2nd round pick. Now Leopold wasn't blowing the doors off, but was a solid guy with 7-11-18 and a -7. We've been seeing a few other guys go for just picks, or a pick and a fill-in player until the offseason. One name I've heard a lot is Alexei Ponikarovsky of the Leafs. Many were thinking it would take a 2nd rounder plus a little to get him from the Leafs. That wouldn't be a terrible price for someone with the ability to score some goals depending on what the plus was. Dealing away Draft picks isn't the greatest thing ever, but seeing as the Coyotes have two first rounders this year giving up a second wouldn't be all that bad.
One of the more popular players for people to crap on and say need moved out is Peter Mueller. Now, I disagree with most saying that he can't work here. As I wrote earlier this season, I think he's just trying to find his role still and is only 21 years old. At his rate he's really decreasing his trade value, but more importantly he's decreasing his salry value for next season. He's an RFA at season's end and could theoretically be signed on the cheap. That gives him some time to prove that he either belongs on the team, or that he's not going to work out. Many would say he's already shown that, but I don't think Mueller is a good fit on the 3rd or 4th lines at the moment. Some would say that's a good reason to move him, but with how this team is likely to change over the offseason I wouldn't count on those top two lines being the same next year.
So there's some early trade deadline analysis. I'm sure something will happen, but no giant moves as there's no real reason to mess with a good thing. The players we have got us to where we are, we could just use one more piece or two to make sure we stay on course.