Yesterday the Arizona Coyotes extended qualifying offers to five of their restricted free agents. They also signed goaltender Louis Domingue to a two year $1.05 million AAV contract extension in hopes of forming a tandem with Mike Smith.
Extended Offers Go To...
Connor Murphy had an up and down year defensively with the Coyotes. He started the year playing with Nicklas Grossmann and then found himself sporadically on third pair with Klas Dahlbeck. He then was promoted to top pair with Oliver Ekman-Larsson after a stint om the press box. The Coyotes need Murphy to be solid on the right side, and his time with OEL seemed to serve him well.
Tobias Rieder had another underrated season with the Coyotes. Even though he was injured in the IIHF World Championships (
Thanks Corey Perry.), the team doesn't believe it is a long term injury, and he should be ready by season's start. Rieder is a skilled winger who is also defensively responsible, the type of player Dave Tippett loves. Rieder should also be seeing more PK time this season.
Michael Stone is another right-handed right defender who is built to block all of the shots. After his season ending injury last season, many wondered if he would be extended an offer. To that I say, of course they were going to. Stone is solid, one of the more mature defenders at 26 years old, and arguably the only other power play quarterback on the roster beyond OEL last season. And of course, he's also a righty. Stone is eligible for arbitration, but if history is any indication, the two sides will come to terms before that.
Tyler Gaudet spent most of his time in Springfield last season, playing 14 games with the Coyotes while Boyd Gordon was injured as fourth line center. At 23, he is still developing as a center. I'm not shocked that they extended an offer to him as they are trying to bolster their center depth. He could spend more time in Tucson this season, but he may also be in the hunt for the fourth line center job on a full-time basis assuming the Coyotes do not replace Gordon.
Stefan Fournier came to the Coyotes in the now infamous John Scott trade. He played 32 games with the Springfield Falcons last season. This offer is a bit of a surprise considering he only had 4 points in 32 games. Fournier is also eligible for arbitration.
The Now UFA's
Defensively Klas Dahlbeck had a rough season. He was paired with Zbynek Michalek for most of the season. The Coyotes did say they would still be open to speaking with Dahlbeck, but with the addition of Alex Goligoski they may not have room for him. Kevin Connauton came into the Coyotes organization at the right time. He was solid when Ekman-Larsson went down with a shoulder injury towards the end of the season. The Coyotes will continue talking with Dahlbeck leading up to free agency, but he may opt to go elsewhere.
Jarred Tinordi is still serving games with his banned substance suspension. The games he did play with the Coyotes were not very strong. Philip Samuelsson spent some time up with the Coyotes this season but was not a stand out. That neither player received a qualifying offer isn't a particularly big surprise.
Brendan Shinnimin played thirty games in Springfield last season and was not brought up when there were injuries to any of the centers. He had a short stint with the Coyotes in the 2014-15 season but it seems he fell out of favor with the team. His lack of size doesn't help matters either.
Christian Thomas came over in the Lucas Lessio trade. He played one game with the Coyotes and sixteen with Springfield. Sergei Plotnikov was brought over from the Pittsburgh Penguins and has reportedly been looking to go back to the KHL. I would like to see him get more of a chance, but I think his perception of the NHL was marred by how he was used by the Penguins.
Niklas Treutle had a very rough first and only game with the Coyotes. He is still young and getting used to the smaller ice surface of North America. I would love for Treutle to get another chance with another team in the AHL.
Overall I am not surprised by the offers tendered, except for Fournier. I think this is a very strong RFA class and the Coyotes are building their team correctly, using the young players they have drafted or collected over the last few years. Adding in the prospects that have just been drafted and picking with Anthony DeAngelo, the Coyotes have a bright future.