Better know a free agent: Brandon McMillan

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Coyotes got McMillan in a trade with Anaheim in 2013. They certainly won that deal and now have the chance to make it a bigger win by re-signing him this offseason.

Brandon McMillan came to the Coyotes in a trade deadline deal on April 3, 2013 from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Matthew Lombardi. Lombardi would play in seven games for the Ducks down the stretch of the 2013 season before signing with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss National League. McMillan wouldn't play with the Coyotes in 2013, but would get recalled during the 2014 season, making a modicum of impact.

The 24-year-old played 22 games for the Coyotes this season while netting two goals, four assists and six points. He finished the season as a zero rating player (+/- 0) while playing 12:35 per game. He also was an effective player from an advanced stats standpoint, finishing the year as a positive Corsi player, generating more shots for the Coyotes while he was on the ice than the opponents. He also drew eight penalties while taking only two and had a pretty low PDO of 98.3.

The PDO is interesting to look at because it suggests McMillan had a tough shooting season, with only two goals on 35 shots (5.7%). He actually shot more this season (1.59 shots per game) than he had in his career entering 2014 (1.15 shots per game in Anaheim). The low PDO indicates that McMillan was unlucky in finding the back of the net, and if he continues to shoot at a good clip like his 20-game audition this year, he could be a 10-20 goal player in a full season with normalized shooting percentages.

McMillan is a restricted free agent this offseason, giving the Coyotes a few options in how to approach returning him to the team. Because the Richmond, BC native is an RFA, the Coyotes need only tender him a qualifying offer to potentially keep him in the fold.

The qualifying offer would be $744,975, but because he hasn't yet played 180 NHL games and didn't appear in more than 60 games this season, it can be a two-way offer. If the Coyotes tender an offer to him, McMillan could accept or sign an offer sheet from another club, which the Coyotes would have five days to match.

Besides the qualifying offer, the Coyotes can also attempt to negotiate a longer term deal with McMillan that would be more toward the player's liking. He was a nice spark plug down the stretch for the Yotes and will almost certainly earn a look at serious NHL playing time next season, McMillan could be a useful bottom-six forward for years to come. The franchise can also tender the qualifying offer while attempting to negotiate a mutually beneficial contract between the sides.

The soon-to-be Arizona Coyotes could also do nothing and allow McMillan to become an unrestricted free agent. This is the least palatable option, but given the relatively low amount needed to tender a qualifying offer, also the least likely.

Most likely, the Coyotes will tender a qualifying offer to McMillan while trying to lock him into a team friendly, longer term deal. To do so, they may have to give him a one-way guaranteed contract. McMillan certainly played well with the team and provided some useful penalty killing performance, but a one way deal for a relatively unproven player is always risky.

No matter what, look for McMillan to be a member of the Arizona Coyotes in 2014-2015.

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