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Key points from the Coyotes’ first day of free agency

The Coyotes signed four players to contracts yesterday, including a familiar face.

Phoenix Coyotes v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

You may not have heard but the Arizona Coyotes have already had a busy offseason. After acquiring Phil Kessel and the Carl Soderberg the Coyotes were fairly quiet during the chaos—seriously, there was even an actual offer sheet!—that is the first day of free agency. But just because they didn’t make another splash doesn’t mean they didn’t do anything.

Coyotes sign Ivan Prosvetov to an ELC

This signing shouldn’t have surprised anyone. If you weren’t following the OHL this past season you may not have known this, but the Coyotes fourth-round pick during the 2018 Entry Draft had a standout season with the Saginaw Spirit, finishing with a 2.94 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. At one point he was the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week as well as a finalist for the OHL Goaltender of the Year.

After recapping his year in the draft class review I am not at all surprised that he was signed to an entry-level contract. Prosvetov had almost as good a season as possible after being drafted and he will hopefully only continue to improve. If Prosvetov can continue to play like he did last season he will find a spot in the crammed Coyotes goalie pipeline.

Center Andy Miele signed to a two-year, two-way contract

Andy Miele was an interesting prospect for the Coyotes. Going undrafted, the 5’ 7” center would sign with the then-Phoenix Coyotes on April 2, 2011. He’s a smaller, high skilled player who was able to generate offense in college and the AHL, but never seemed to find that same success in the NHL.

Miele was a great hockey player in college. He won the Hobey Baker Award winner in 2011, he was an USCHO Player of the Year, a CCHA Player of the Year, and USA Hockey’s College Player of the Year. He also found success in the AHL, playing in the AHL All-Star Game in 2011-12 while being named to the AHL Second All-Star Team in 2013-14 and the AHL First All-Star Team in 2014-15.

Miele would mostly spend his time in Arizona going back and forth between the Coyotes and the Portland Pirates, Arizona’s then AHL affiliate. He would play only fifteen games in the NHL, all with the Coyotes, and register only two assists during that time.

Since leaving the Coyotes Miele spent time in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms before departing to Europe. During the 2017-18 season he would spend 39 games with the Malmo Redhawkks, where he was 10-17-27, and 7 games with Vaxjo Lakers HC where he finished 0-5-5. Last season he played with the Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL, and in 61 games he was 16-16-32.

The Coyotes currently have an open roster spot so Miele may play for the Coyotes. Based off his contract and his career it seems more likely he will spend most of the season in the AHL though. If he does spend the season in the AHL he will hopefully help the Tucson Roadrunners find success and get back in the playoffs after missing the post season last season.

Defenseman Aaron Ness signed to a two-year, two-way contract

Originally drafted 40th overall in 2008 by the New York Islanders, Ness has been bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL throughout his professional career. So far he has spent a majority of his time in the latter, but he has earned call ups from both the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders.

Like Miele, Ness has found a lot of success in the AHL. Last season with the Hershey Bears he played in 71 games and finished 5-50-55 and was named to the AHL Second All-Star Team. While 50 assists is a career high for Ness, he has shown an ability to generate offense at the AHL level and in 519 total AHL games he has 43 goals and 208 assists.

Ness is likely going to be spending the majority of his season in the AHL with the Roadrunners this season. His numbers in the AHL are certainly intriguing, but the Coyotes’ blue line is pretty much already set. Ness definitely helps to sure up the Roadrunners defense especially since Kyle Capobianco seemed poised to make the jump last season.

Forward Beau Bennett signed to a one-year, two-way contract

Bennett is another depth signing for the Coyotes. Originally drafted 20th overall in 2010 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Gardena, California native has been playing in the NHL since the 2012-13 season. Most of that time has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2016. He is also familiar another new addition to the Arizona Coyotes.

Of the three players signed yesterday, Bennett has spent the most time in the NHL. He has played 200 games with the Penguins, New Jersey Devils, and the St. Louis Blues as well as 104 games in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Chicago Wolves. In that time he scored 24 goals and 40 assists in the NHL and 19 goals and 72 assists in the AHL.

Last season it looked like Bennett was going to spend the year in the KHL skting alongside former Coyotes Teemu Pulkkinen and Stefan Elliott with the Dinamo Minsk. Things wouldn’t work out though and Bennett would play in only 5 games recording a single assist.

Its tough to say where Bennett will spend most of next season. A good training camp and preseason could see him getting a spot in the bottom six, or he may be sent down to the Roadrunners. If Bennett is assigned to the AHL he will likely be one of the first call ups if the Coyotes get bit by the injury bug again. If Arizona learned nothing else last season, they discovered the importance of having players who can step up if others are injured.