Brett MacLean will be back in Coyotes red before the end of the season. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Well, there was quite a bit of news from the Phoenix Coyotes today, although some of it still hasn't been officially announced. For a Tuesday in July, it was a veritable cornucopia of news. Let's start with the positive news from the team.
First, they signed four players (all forwards) to one-year, two-way deals: Brett MacLean, Kyle Chipchura, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Mathieu Beaudoin. Obviously, the name you should recognize is MacLean, who spent a decent portion of the end of the season with the Coyotes after having a stellar season in San Antonio. Chipchura and Pouliot have the most NHL experience, although neither should be expected to necessarily make the team, nor contribute much to the offense if they should. Beaudoin is a career AHL-player who has bounced around and led the Rampage in scoring last season with 51 points.
It's never a bad idea to stock up on talented players for the AHL squad and if one of these guys has a surprising camp, or players great at Portland, we may see them playing here with the Coyotes.
Our next piece of good news is that the Coyotes announced that they are in the Top 5 of the entire NHL for new season tickets sold this offseason. Now, this is good news, but it comes with a grain of salt. Many other NHL teams have already sold their full allotment of season tickets and actually use a waiting list before they sell "new" tickets. So, this announcement doesn't say that the Coyotes really will be avoiding the attendance woes that have plagued the team since they declared bankruptcy. But at the same time, that they can be increasing season ticket sales after more ownership issues have been presented and absolutely zero marketing, then that says a lot about the fanbase in general, and its ability to thrive if given an opportunity with a committed ownership group, in my opinion.
Finally, there is some relatively sad news from the Coyotes front office. According to this posting, it would appear that Coyotes play-by-play announcer Dave Strader is moving on to icier pastures. A deleted tweet from a Coyotes PR staffer suggests that @TheVoiceDS has taken a full time position with NBC Universal, and if that is true, he is well deserving of a national audience. Remember, that recently SB Nation's Derek Zona ranked the Coyotes broadcasters as one of the best in the business. It's not clear who the Coyotes will bring in to replace Strades, but it is basically guaranteed that they won't be as good.
While it is certainly no guarantee that a stable ownership situation would have prevented Strader from taking a national audience job, it definitely didn't help. It reminds me painfully of when Darren Pang left for St. Louis two years ago. All I know is that for the time being, @TysonNash is the entire TV broadcast crew...I love Nasher, and he's improved dramatically in his few years in the booth, but he needs a strong play-by-play anchor to work off of. Maybe Curt Keilback can be convinced to return to the Valley of the Sun?
Finally, tomorrow is the arbitration hearing for Lauri Korpikoski. There has been no news on this front, and it was reported on Twitter that GMDM plans on going through with the hearing. Although I'm not worried about Korpikoski re-signing with the team (he will), this is not a good situation. The arbitration process fosters bad blood between a player and the organization and for good reason - Korpi is going to sit in a room and listen to GMDM explain why he sucks and doesn't deserve to get paid what Korpi is asking for. That's not easy to listen to and the sting of it stays with you. Does it necessarily mean that Korpi will be traded next year - of course not. But it's not uncommon for this to happen either. There's always the possibility that this will settle before the hearing, but I'm not holding my breath.