Don't worry, Centers aren't the only thing the Phoenix Coyotes need this offseason, I'm just going over what the team needs to go out and get on the market starting Friday. While the team won't necessarily be weak at center, they have practically no depth at the position. Let's take a look at who the team already has and who might actually sign here (RFAs that have been given qualifying offers are, in this instance, considered signed.)
Who They Have:
Martin Hanzal - He's not losing his spot as the number 2 center on the team, but he's not a number one either. with his shutdown style he's great, but he also missed 20 games with various injuries last year and has some known back issues.
Kyle Turris - He got 4th line minutes most of last year and is probably going to be expected to play on the first line this time around. There's pretty much no one ahead of him to mentor him at the moment so I really hope he's ready to play big minutes.
Petteri Nokelainen - Bought out by the Coyotes last year and then signed a new contract this year. Very strange. He'll be the 3rd or 4th liner. He played very well in the World Championships after the season and that's likely what got him a new deal. He hit hard and often, but that kind of play can get you banged up pretty quickly.
Andy Miele - The Coyotes signed the Hobey Baker winner free agent right at the end of the season. He's a bit on the small side and might not be ready for full-time NHL play. He'll certainly see some time with the Coyotes though, as he's pretty much the only good option the Coyotes have as a backup.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot - Who? Exactly. He's the only other center the Coyotes have signed in any way past those top 4. The Coyotes game him a qualifying offer so they like something about him at least.
So to say that the Coyotes lack depth at center might be an understatement. The question is who can they go out and get and convince to play here in year three of ownershipgate? The first option would obviously be to re-sign at least one of the veteran centers we had of either Vernon Fiddler or Eric Belanger. It looks like Fiddler could get a nice contract elsewhere though and Belanger wasn't all that great last year. So who else is out there? (P.S. we're not getting Brad Richards. Just making sure you knew that, =P)
Marty Reasoner: Not a big, flashy name, but a guy that can eat up 3rd line minutes and has been a decent player on some pretty awful teams. Generally gets about 30 points a year and ended up a plus player on a not so good Florida team last year.
Chris Higgins: Played some significant minutes for the Canucks, but further down the depth chart. The biggest knock I see for him is going to be his inability so stay healthy recently. In his 6 full time NHL seasons he's missed 20+ games in 4 of them.
Max Talbot: Wishful thinking here because he'll likely get a payday and get offers from teams not having ownership headaches. Talbot averaged 15 minutes of ice time but that would be sure to go down if and when SIdney Crosby comes back and behind Evgeni Malkin.
Those are just 3 targets/hopeful targets but looking at the free agent list the pickings are a little slim. Take a look, who do you think the Coyotes should go after?