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Phoenix Coyotes Preseason Countdown: 6 Days

With 6 days till the preseason we look at the player contracts that are about to expire and how that could affect the Desert Dogs.

Morris is one of six Phoenix Coyotes players becoming unrestricted free-agents at the end of the 2013-2014 season.
Morris is one of six Phoenix Coyotes players becoming unrestricted free-agents at the end of the 2013-2014 season.

Six days remain until the beginning of the preseason and what could be the last season for six players within the Phoenix Coyotes organization. In July 2014: Derek Morris, David Moss, Paul Bissonnette, Radim Vrbata, Thomas Greiss and Rostislav Klesla will all enter unrestricted free agency and could leave the Coyotes for any team in (or out) of the NHL.

What's the likelihood of them staying? It depends on the individual player. Greiss signed a one-year UFA contract with the Yotes this year, meaning that he could be gone as soon as the timer hits zero. Such a practice isn't uncommon, Jason LaBarbera just signed a similar deal with Edmonton and Steve Sullivan was under it as well when he was traded to the New Jersey Devils.

Which brings up another point, trades. With a heavily defensive team in the Portland Pirates (the Coyotes AHL affiliate) and rumors that some of the young pups are ready to make the leap to full Coyotes; defenseman Derek Morris and Rostislav Klesla as well as forward David Moss could be traded to acquire players where holes exist or even to get a few draft picks as happened with Sullivan, Raffi Torres and Matthew Lombardi.

The surest bets may be with Vrbata and strangely enough Bissonnette. The last time Vribs went free-agent he found himself with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but after taking a year off from the NHL, he came back without a job and was traded back to the desert. Nobody likes change and if the Czech's numbers stay strong he could easily secure himself a contract that works well for both parties.

With Bissonnette, it may not be as much an on as off-the-ice discussion. Though a strong force to have on the ice, what possibly makes him even more important is that he is a public relations machine, anyone Biss plays for is sure to get publicity. But, is that worth another contract? When it comes to BizNasty it might be as much a front office decision as one made by general manager Don Maloney.

Don't take this as all doom and gloom. The last year of a contract could mean one important thing, a great performance. Everybody wants a little more money in the pot, but nothing says you deserve it like playing your heart out and helping your team win the Stanley Cup.