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Better know a free agent: Andy Miele

The Portland Pirates' leading goal scorer is about to be an unrestricted free agent. Should the former Hobey Baker Award winner be re-signed or is time for the Coyotes to let him go?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Like a growing number of players, Andy Miele played college hockey before he signed with the Phoenix Coyotes. He was with the Miami RedHawks from the 2007-08 season to the 2010-11 where he was USA Hockey's 2010-11 college player of the year and the winner of the 2011 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. He was signed as a free agent on April 2, 2011 to a two-year deal and was given a one year extension before the start of the 2013-2014 season.

Miele has been an excellent hockey player in the AHL, but it still remains to be seen if he can translate that success into the NHL. He has played 209 AHL games and has 62 goals 117 assists and 179 points during three regular seasons and one goal, two assists and three points in the three career AHL playoff games. Miele is currently 10th in the Portland Pirates all-time point leaders and he was the Pirates MVP in his rookie year.  He also has his own bobblehead which doesn't necessarily speak much to his play, but is pretty cool.

Last season was Miele's best year with the Pirates, finishing with a career high in goals, assists and points with 27-45-72, but he hasn't been able to crack the NHL roster for an extended period of time. He was third in the AHL in points behind Travis Morin and Zach Boychuk during the regular season, appearing in 70 games.

During the 2013-14 season, the Michigan native was called up to play seven games with the Coyotes, where he averaged about nine minutes per game, and had no goals and two assists. Overall his play was OK; it's tough to judge his advanced stats because of limited sample size but his CF% was 42.9%, which doesn't point to him adding too much to the team. His faceoff numbers leave a lot to be desired, especially for a center. He won only 15 of 40 for a faceoff percentage of 37.5%.

I believe that if the 26-year-old is going to find success at the NHL level, he will need to make the transition from center to wing. He has shown in the AHL he does have some set-up talent, but he can't win faceoffs at the NHL level. With the recent talk of a potential youth movement, it may be time to give Miele an extended trial in the NHL, instead of only bringing him up for a few games here and there. If Miele can make the switch to wing, he has the potential to translate his AHL play to the NHL level, however potential doesn't necessarily translate to success. If he stays at center, I don't see him getting a shot with the Coyotes.

Miele does have another opportunity to impress both the Coyotes' brass and the rest of the NHL as he will be playing with Team USA at the 2014 IIHF World Championship alongside Coyotes' defenseman Connor Murphy, and may get the opportunity to play against coach Dave Tippett's Team Canada.

If Miele is not re-signed, there isn't really a hole that the Coyotes need to fill.  He was an occasional call-up for the Coyotes, but there are other players that could potentially fill that role. It would end up being a bigger problem for the Pirates who would need to replace their top scoring center.

In terms of filling that void, the Coyotes did sign NCAA stand out Greg Carey to a one-year deal.  Carey was a Hobey Baker finalist, he lead the NCAA in assists this past season and in goals the year before that.