Coyotes Roundtable: Realignment, Re-signing, Renewing Rivalry

Rich Lam

In this edition we ruminate over the latest realignment proposal, the Coyotes re-signing David Schlemko, potential trade needs for the team, and the upcoming three game set with the Anaheim Ducks. . Our special guest this week is Yotesgurl. You can check out her work at The Good, The Bad, The Coyotes and on Twitter. Joining her are associate editor Jaime Eisner and myself.

What are your thoughts on the new rumored realignment plan for the NHL?

Yotesgurl: DING DONG DETROIT IS BASICALLY DEAD. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Wait, then who do we get...... OMG THE JETS. UGH. I guess Burn The Peg is our new Red Wings Suck? I guess my feelings will depend on what the schedule looks like. If we get the home and away against everyone in the league, I'm good. If I have to see Vancouver so often that I want to stab myself in the eye, at least I'll get to see the Pens each year. Don't be dead, Geno! In regards to bringing in money and putting butts in the seats, it's tough to lose Detroit, but adding games against the Canadian teams will hopefully offset the loss. Or hey, maybe people will actually show up to watch the home team? It also brings up questions about expansion occurring and if so, they should really think about putting a second team here..... in Mesa. I feel like we can handle two teams. JK, Canada, breathe into the bag before you pass out!

Carl: I'm a huge fan of the realignment plan, even more so if they stick to keeping the early playoff rounds intra-divisional to stoke rivalries like back in the days of the Norris, Smythe, Adams, and Patrick divisions. The plan allows for Columbus, Dallas, and Detroit to play with other teams in their time zone which should help attract more fans and better TV ratings. In addition, it follows migratory patterns of snowbirds by having the Alberta and B.C. teams play in the same division as the California teams and Phoenix, while having the Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, and Ontario teams play the Florida squads. This should help attendance and TV ratings for the teams in the sunny locales. No plan is going to be perfect. Teams are spread out evenly geographically and having 30 instead of 32 teams makes it a bit tougher. However, the basic plan that has been outlined is about as good as we are going to get until the NHL expands to Seattle, Las Vegas, and/or Houston.

Jaime: While there are parts of it I like, such as having every team play each other each season, I'm not a huge fan of the proposed playoff system. Inter-division playoffs could become boring after awhile as the same teams play each other every year. I also feel that each division should be even and they will not be until the NHL expands to 32 teams.

What was your reaction to the team re-signing David Schlemko for 2 more years?

Yotesgurl: Schlem. I'm so torn. When Schlem and OEL were completing for a spot at the start of last year, I got so used to vehemently rooting against him. I guess the 1.1 mil price tag makes him able to be easily moved, need be. I just think of all the D we have stocked up and the thought of Schlem taking a roster spot for two years gives me lukewarm feelings. Rundblad. Gormley. Summers. Stone. I really like all these prospects more than Schlem and they will all be fighting for the same spot, as all the big boys are locked up through at least another season. EXCEPT OLIVER. Can we just give him 11 billion dollars now? To make the cap hit manageable, we will have to lock him up until the apocalypse, but this needs to happen. Ok, back to Schlem. My reaction to locking up a player with low SQUEE rating? Meh.

Carl: I'm a huge fan of the signing. When healthy Schlemko has proven to be a reliable third pairing defensemen with more offensive skill than most depth blueliners. In addition, you are getting a guy who knows the system for just slightly above minimum money. Most importantly, he's clearly better than the other options they have currently on the blueline in Summers, Stone, and Rundblad. Maybe in the second year of his deal that won't be the case any longer. If so, his cap friendly contract will be easy to move.

Jaime: I think it was a solid signing by GMDM and the Coyotes organization. Schlemko has proven that, when healthy, he can be a valuable bottom-pair defenseman. When he was in this season, he outplayed Mike Stone, Chris Summers and David Rundblad. A good player at a reasonable salary is always a good plan.

Should the Coyotes consider making a trade this early, or wait until
closer to the deadline? If so, for whom?

Yotesgurl: Looking at our RFAs, we have Summers, Stone, OEL, Rundblad, and Goncharov that need to be signed. I really feel like we will move a D prospect or Schlem. Should we trade? My stock answer is always no, as it's always possible one of your faves can go. But, GMDM has a history of bringing in quaaaaaaaaaality stock (please see Lombo, Kles, Z, and Antoine). Can we trade Raffi? Package Raffi and Schlemko in a package deal to SKA for Prucha and Tikhonov. GUYS, I HAVE STATS TO BACK THIS UP. Teek and Pru have 46 combined points in 39 games, 26 of which are goals! WE CAN GET THE BAND BACK TOGETHER!!! I fully maintain that if Chipchura can be an offensive force in this system, Teek gets the Art Ross. How about Zach Parise, he only makes like five dollars a season, right? Oh. I see. Seriously though, we need some goals so either someone needs to kick Vrby and Vermy in the behind or we need to bring in a forward who can chip in more offensively. Has anyone checked Sullivan for a pulse lately? I have no attachment to Moss so let's flop him out there and see who bites. *Gratuitous Boyd Gordon and Lauri Korpikoski appreciation shout out*

Carl: Part of the answer lies in how quickly Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal are expected to be back. For what seems like forever we've talked about the team needing another scoring winger. Until the team's budget increases or they trade away another major piece to get one I don't see the hole being filled. At most, I could see GM Don Maloney looking to add a relatively cheap forward for the stretch run. Maybe a guy with a fairly cheap expiring contract like Vinny Prospal.

Jaime: I think the Coyotes could use a top-6 winger. The play of Sullivan, Doan, Vrbata and Korpikoski has not been as consistent as the Coyotes need them to be. While the recent play of Chipchura, Johnson and Bissonnette are always appreciated, the top six wingers need to make more of an impact.

Are you excited to see the Coyotes & Ducks play two games in a row at
home (and 3 total) against one another?

Yotesgurl: The Ducks. Considering I was once almost thrown out of a game for things I screamed at Ryan Getzlaf, I may not be the best person to rationally comment on this. The only redeeming qualities this team possesses are Grandpa Finn Teemu and American Treasure Bobby Ryan. Three games in a row breeds some playoff-like animosity, but I don't know that we need that. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, IT'S THE DUCKS. However, I may be able to get some more use out of my "I <3 Czechs like Getzlaf <3's Rogaine" sign.

Carl: The Ducks are the Pacific Division I loathe the most. I dislike Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf's elbows and I'm still pissed about this. The Ducks have started this season on fire and will come into the series leading the Pacific. In other words, I'm stoked. By the third game in Anaheim I suspect the Coyotes' players will hate the Ducks as much as I do.

Jaime: It should be a very interesting mini-series as the Ducks are the class of the Pacific Division right now. Playing the same team so frequently in so few nights will give the series a playoff feel. The ‘Yotes need to rack up regulation wins if they hope to catch the Ducks and take over the Pacific Division lead.

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