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Coyotes unrestricted free agent primer

The Arizona Coyotes have multiple pending unrestricted free agents.

Vegas Golden Knights v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Coyotes set to head to free agency

Free agency begins soon, and we are going to see a large number of Arizona Coyotes players set to become free agents. Most, if not all, will likely have played their last game with the Coyotes, although the team may choose to bring some of them back if the deal is right. In preparation for the upcoming start, we’re going to break down some of the notable free agents that the Coyotes have.

Phil Kessel

Kessel is probably the biggest pending free agent that the Coyotes have. Kessel has played three seasons with the Coyotes, and though he no longer is the player who won back-to-back cups, he still has a lot to offer a team.

Likely in the final season of his career, Kessel seems like he wants to play meaningful games for a contender. And while the Coyotes may be on the way up, they are still very early in their rebuild.

Kessel should be a decent pickup for a team that wants secondary scoring and a veteran presence, but he almost certainly won’t be back.

Antoine Roussel, Loui Eriksson, and Jay Beagle

The Coyotes acquired these three players as part of the deal that saw Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland go to the Vancouver Canucks. Eriksson provided some secondary scoring, though not much. Antoine Roussel and Jay Beagle provided defensive support.

The Coyotes probably aren’t like to bring back any of the three unless they are willing to take a steep pay cut. However, of the three, Roussel seemed to fit best with Head Coach André Tourigny’s system. Either way, you can probably expect to see all three walk away.

Alex Galchenyuk

The Coyotes brought Galchenyuk in on a PTO before eventually signing him to a one-year deal.

Galchenyuk took a step back this season, and in 60 games, he had six goals and 15 assists. He had a roller coaster of a season. At times he was a healthy scratch, and at others, he played with Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz.

I never want to count Galchenyuk out, so the team could eventually bring him back for another season to serve as a veteran presence. But it wouldn’t surprise me if either party wanted to move on and try something new.

Dmitrij Jaškin

Jaškin only played 12 games with the Coyotes before being sidelined with a lower-body injury, and in that time, he recorded a single assist. Because he wasn’t able to play much, it is tough to evaluate him, especially considering the team was not playing well outside of Jaškin. But even in that short time, he did not look like a good fit.

General Manager Bill Armstrong must have seen something in Jaškin before signing him, so he may be back for another chance. But what little we saw of Jaškin with the Coyotes didn’t look that great, and we have likely seen the last of him.

Bokondji Imama

Boko spent most of his season with the Tucson Roadrunners, but he did make his NHL debut last season and played four games with the Coyotes. In that time, he recorded his first NHL goal.

A two-way deal makes the most sense if the Coyotes want to bring Boko back. Boko is a quality tough guy, but the team has Liam O’Brien and the newly acquired Zack Kassian, so there may not be room with the NHL team for him.

Boko is a Group 6 unrestricted free agent, so he has the right to sign with another team. PHNX’s Craig Morgan has reported that the team is still in contact with Boko, so we may see him back, but I can imagine another team wanting to add Boko to their team.

Anton Strålman

Strålman is an interesting player for the Coyotes. After two tough seasons with the Florida Panthers, Strålman looked good with the Coyotes and provided a veteran defenseman who showed a bit of offense.

If Strålman is available for a reasonable deal, the Coyotes should be interested in re-signing him. If not, they will likely be looking for another veteran defenseman to help run their blue line.

Strålman is 35 years old and probably doesn’t have much longer with his career. So if he wants another shot at a Stanley Cup, he probably isn’t going to spend next season with the Coyotes.

Harri Säteri

The Coyotes acquired Säteri off waivers, and he would play six games for the Desert Dogs. Unfortunately, he did not look good in those games, boosting a 4.22 goals-against average and a .866 save percentage. Säteri was needed after the team shipped out Scott Wedgewood, and he doesn’t seem like he will be around next season.