The Arizona Coyotes are going to be a very different team when the 2019-20 season starts. This is mostly because of the new players they have acquired, but we shouldn’t overlook the players that left as free agents. None of these players had major roles, but they all contributed in one way or another to the Coyotes over the past few seasons.
The Coyotes originally acquired Archibald in 2017 along with Sean Maguire and a sixth-round pick at the 2019 Draft (used to draft Anthony Romano) for Michael Leighton and a fourth-round pick in 2019. Archibald would prove to be a versatile forward who would occasionally play up when the team suffered injuries, although he spent most of his time with the team in the bottom six. Last year would prove to be a stand out season for the Regina, Saskatchewan native, and in 68 games he finished 12-10-22, all career highs.
Arizona didn’t present a qualifying offer to Archibald and he became an unrestricted free agent. He currently is unsigned, but he likely will find a team before the start of the season.
Another player acquired from a Pennsylvania team, the Coyotes acquired Cousins and goaltender Merrick Madsen in exchange for Brendan Warren and a fifth-round pick in June of 2017. Cousins would play 152 total games with the Coyotes over two seasons and would finish his time in the desert 19-27-46. Cousins would also mostly play a bottom six role, although he would also occasionally find himself moving up to fill a hole if needed.
The Coyotes also didn’t tender a qualifying offer to Cousins. He recently signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens.
Having spent most of his career playing in Europe, Mario Kempe was an interesting signing for the Coyotes. He is a quick forward, but he wasn’t able use his speed to generate consistent offense. Kempe initially signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Coyotes in May of 2017 and he would split the 2017-18 season between the Coyotes and the Tucson Roadrunners. Despite being limited to 18 games in the NHL during his first season the Coyotes thought he was worth keeping around and the team re-signed him for another year. In his two seasons in Arizona he would play in 57 games with the Roadrunners and 70 games with the Coyotes.
Fan favorite Richard Panik managed to cash in this offseason. Originally acquired in January of 2018 from the Chicago Blackhawks, Panik managed to generate some offense in his season and half with the Coyotes, but also drew ire for stretches where he seemed to disappear. In 110 games he would finish 22-30-52, and last season he was tied for forth in goals scored and was fifth in points among Coyotes.
Despite being the oldest player, Panik got the best deal of the former Coyotes. He signed a four-year, $11 million deal with the Washington Capitals which will see an average of $2.75 per season. He is making $50,000 less than he was with the Coyotes, but four years is a long term for a third line winger.
Panik’s bad reputation is probably a bit overblown. He managed decent chemistry on a line with Derek Stepan and Clayton Keller and he was definitely forced into a bigger role because of the Coyotes’ lack of talent. With the Capitals he will be a third liner and will probably do well in a middle six role. In my opinion the money isn’t terrible for what will likely be 15 goals, but four years is way way too long.
Do any of these signings surprise you? Who do you think Archibald will sign with? Do you think the Coyotes should have kept any of these players? Comment below.