A Dozen Key Phoenix Coyotes Set to Become Free Agents

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

A look at 12 Coyotes players that will become either UFAs or RFAs.

With free agency just around the corner, the Phoenix Coyotes have nine free agents on their main roster, including six unrestricted free agents. Below we will look at all nine of those players, plus some key prospect free agents, with their 2013 statistics as well as the likelihood that they re-sign with the Yotes.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Mike Smith (UFA)

The Coyotes' starting goaltender is a UFA after signing a 2-year contract with the team in 2011. After having a career year (2.21 GAA, .930 save %) in which he led the team to the Western Conference Finals in his first season in Phoenix, he fell off a bit (2.58 GAA, .910 save %) in the lockout-shortened season of 2012-2013. With reports that Smith is asking for upward of $6 million per year, he may very well price himself out of the market for the cash-strapped Yotes.

Jason LaBarbera (UFA)

The other goalie on the roster is set to become a UFA as well. LaBarbera has been the back-up each of his four seasons with the team, playing 68 games. The team may elect to give the back-up duties to Chad Johnson (if he is re-signed) next season. The 33-year-old finished last season with a 2.64 GAA and a .923 save percentage in 15 games.

Chad Johnson (UFA)

Johnson played quite well in his four starts last season recording a GAA of 1.21 and a .954 save percentage with one shutout. The 27-year-old may get a chance to compete for the back-up role next season if LaBarbera is not re-signed. The best goalie currently under contract is prospect Mark Visentin; but according to the Maine Hockey Journal's Chris Roy, Visentin is not ready to compete for any NHL role at this time.

Boyd Gordon (UFA)

Third line center, faceoff specialist and now UFA; Gordon should be the top priority when it comes to re-signing unrestricted free agent skaters. Gordon's the man you want on the ice, taking the faceoff with your team up a goal in the final minute. The 29-year-old has won 57 percent of his faceoffs in back-to-back seasons. Gordon's a cost-effective player who is a key cog in the Coyotes' nightly success. Look for him to be re-signed soon.

Kyle Chipchura (UFA)

Chipchura played all but two games last season with the Coyotes scoring five goals, 14 points and winning 48 percent of his faceoffs. The 27-year-old can play both wing and center on the fourth line. With a lack of fourth-line center depth i the system, Chipchura may be a cheap but effective way of filling the fourth line center role for the 2013-2014 season.

Alexandre Bolduc (UFA)

The captain of the Portland Pirates played 14 scoreless games with the Coyotes last season. But, his success in the AHL (24 goals and 51 points in 56 games) may earn him a two-way deal.

Chris Conner (UFA)

Last season was not his first stint on a Dave Tippett coached team. He played in parts of Tippett's last three seasons in Dallas before subsequently playing for Pittsburgh and Detroit. The 5' 8" winger scored a goal and an assist in 12 games with the main club and may earn himself a two-way deal.

Chris Summers (UFA)

Summers has made 29 appearances with the Coyotes over the last three seasons. The 25-year-old former first round pick may be second in line, behind David Schlemko, if a left-handed defenseman goes down on the main club. Summers has not lived up to his value of a first round pick but is a defensive-defenseman who can be a solid depth player in the Yotes system.

Restircted Free Agents

Lauri Korpikoski (RFA)

Korpedo is coming off a fairly disappointing 2012-2013 season after having back-to-back solid seasons. Korpikoski scored six goals in 36 games after flirting with the 20-goal plateau each of the last two seasons. As with all RFA's, the Coyotes will likely tender the soon-to-be 27-year-old with a qualifying offer and continue negotiating a contract throughout the summer.

Mikkel Boedker (RFA)

Many are still waiting for Boedker's breakout season where he becomes the 20-goal scorer that many expect him to be. At the age of 23, Boedker had his best season to date nearly matching his career high in points in only 48 games. He is a fast, durable player who has played every game over the last two seasons. Last season, Boedker scored seven points on the power play which is more than he scored in the rest of his career combined. Whether he lives up to the expectations of being a top-10 pick or not, Boedker will surely be a part of the Coyotes'plans for years to come.

Michael Stone (RFA)

Stone finally saw consistent minutes in the NHL this season as he played in 40 of the Phoenix's 48 games. Stone has transformed his game from a primarily offensive defenseman with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, into more of an all-around defenseman. The 23-year-old currently plays on the third pairing but could be groomed into a second paring D-man alongside Keith Yandle. Coyotes fans will be seeing a lot of Stone in the coming years.

David Rundblad (RFA)

Acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Turris to the Ottawa Senators, the 22-year-old defenseman is the best offensive defenseman prospect in the Coyotes system. While he may not see ice-time early in the 2013-2014 season, Rundblad could find himself on the third defensive paring and quarterbacking the second power play unit before season's end.

Free agents can begin signing with their new teams starting on July 5. They may begin talking to teams on July 1. So the Coyotes don't exactly have a whole lot of time to get their desired targets under contract before other teams get a chance to make offers.

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