The Coyotes are going to be one interesting team to watch on the free agency market come Wednesday. No one is sure what they're going to do, what position they'll be in or what the budget is. I'm not even sure the front office really knows what's up.
Pending UFAs: Dmitri Kalinin, Ken Klee, Brian McGrattan, Jeff Hoggan, Ryan Lannon, Steven Goertzen
We should really be worried about our UFAs getting poached. Yup. We'd be seriously screwed if any of those guys get taken. Irreplaceable that lot is... Yeah. Not really worried about any of them. Kalinin is probably going to the KHL, McGrattan isn't getting signed, Klee is a maybe, but he's getting up there in age. The other three might be able to stay if they don't mind being in the AHL.
Pending RFAs: Scottie Upshall, Enver Lisin, Keith Yandle, Alexander Nikulin, Nigel Dawes, Daniel Winnik, Josh Tordjman, Joakim Lindstrom, Garth Murray
The RFAs are where we have our work cut out for us. Upshall, Lisin and Yandle are the ones we need to get signed and get signed quickly. They're quality players that we counted on last year. Upshall and Yandle are the priorities but if someone else comes in after Lisin we can't go paying too much for him when his defense has been terrible. Nikulin is likely KHL bound as well, Dawes might be able to stay but if someone else offers him he's gone, Winnik, Murray and Lindstrom if they'll take two-way deals. Tjordman will get re-upped if no one else wants him.
Salary Cap space: 26.322 Million (according to NHLNumbers) 6.55 Million to reach the floor.
No one knows what we'll be able to do for free agency. Will we be at the floor again? Will the NHL let us spend a little bit of money to get the free agents we need to be a bit more competitive? I don't know, the experts don't know, I'm just hoping that the front office knows at this point.
Option 1: Most likely we still go a close to the floor as we reasonably can. We get the most important RFAs signed up as fast as possible. We know that we're already in arbitration with at least one of them but we don't know who it was. We sign a couple of cheap free agents to fill the gaps but no one that makes an impact.
Option 2: We're able to spend at least a little bit of cash to get some mid-range guys to come in. I'd love to be able to get someone like UFA Steve Montador or another decent defenseman. It's possible we could get him or someone similar anyways, but it depends on how much we have to spend on the RFAs. Getting another center has also been discussed by the team but I'm not sure of anyone that we could grab for a decent price. I'm sure Don Maloney knows better than me. Nik Antropov would be nice, but it's not going to happen.
Option 3: Spend the Cap! Yeah, not happening. Maybe next year once Reinsdorf owns the team
So who can we go after?: The mid rangers. We can't afford any big names and even the guys in the middle we might have to overpay for thanks to the uncertainly surrounding the team. The cupboard is a little bare on those types right now on the UFA Market. Montador, who I mentioned is one guy I'd like to grab. Mike Komisarek is a possibility, but should be up for a raise. Manny Malhotra is a decent Centerman that can grind like GM Don Maloney likes. After that it may be benficial to target RFA heavy teams like San Jose, Tampa Bay and Washington if they have players we like at a low price in terms of cost and picks. Maloney has to get creative to get the guys he wants.
What do the Enemies need?
Los Angeles: Rudy Kelly has his cheat sheet here. Basically they're already close but could use another piece or two at center and at defense.
Anaheim: A time machine. Seriously they're old.
Dallas: To stay healthy. They're got talent, but they needed their own wing at the hospital last year and played with half an AHL team.
San Jose: Something to get over the hump. Here's Fear the Fin's look at things. No matter what they do they'll be in the playoffs, but something has to give to get them to the Conference Finals at Least...