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Preview: Phoenix Coyotes Free Agency

On the eve of free agency, the Phoenix Coyotes still have nine unsigned players who will become unrestricted free agents at 9 am Arizona time on Sunday. This article will discuss those impending free agents and the likelihood of the Coyotes retaining those players and possible replacements if they do not.

At the end of each player note, there will be a “comparable” player. This player is an unrestricted free agent that has similar statistics and can fill a similar role as the Coyotes player. The qualifications to be a “comparable” player are that the player must be a UFA and have a reasonable chance to be signed by the Coyotes (no Zach Parise or Ryan Suter).

Ray Whitney (24G-53A-77P. +26): Whitney enjoyed his best season since 2008 scoring 77 points, the most of any Coyote. Whitney spent the majority of the year on Phoenix’s “prime line” with line-mates Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. The chances are slim that Whitney re-signs with the Coyotes. Whitney commented after the season that he was unhappy that there was no owner to stick up for the team in the playoffs and he would not go through that again. With the ownership uncertainty and his objections to a one-year contract, Whitney may take his talents elsewhere. COMPARABLE: P.A. Parenteau (18-49-67. -8)

Shane Doan (22-28-50. -8. 205 hits): It is almost unthinkable that Captain Coyote may leave for greener pastures. Doan has said that he wants to play in Arizona and he will if some clarity arises from an ownership situation which has been about as clear as a late afternoon Phoenix haboob. If not, Doan may decide to stay near home and join the Los Angeles Kings or head eastward in an attempt to win a cup (the reverse Bourque).  COMPARABLE: No one….. Jiri Hudler (25-25-50. +10. 48 hits)

Daymond Langkow (11-19-30. -4): Langkow was traded to the Coyotes last off-season and was expected to fill the role of a top Centerman between Ray Whitney and Shane Doan. (Well at least Fox Sports Arizona commercials said so.) Langkow struggled in the regular season and was well below 50% in the face-off circle. He did play very well in the post-season leading all Coyotes forwards in Assists with six. The Coyotes would probably look elsewhere for a player who fills a better fourth-line role at center or try prospects Scott Arnold or Brendan Shinnimin there. COMPARABLE: Jason Arnott (17-17-34. +13)

Taylor Pyatt (9-10-19. -4. 137 hits): Pyatt regressed from his 18 goal season two years ago. He is a hard-nosed player who plays well in the corners. Unfortunately, there are too many games Pyatt makes no impact on. Pyatt is a good soldier and is cheap which may save him a job on the third or fourth line. The Coyotes can and probably should look elsewhere for a replacement. COMPARABLE: Joey Crabb (11-15-26. +1. 101 hits)

Gilbert Brule (5-9-14. +7): Brule made an impact with the Coyotes after being claimed off waivers from Edmonton. The line of Brule, Langkow and Kyle Chipchura was the best line going many nights. Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said that Brule told him that this season was the most fun [Brule] ever had playing hockey. The Coyotes would not tender the RFA because of the salary but I would be surprised if Brule did not sign with the Coyotes in the next few days. COMPARABLE: Tanner Glass (5-11-16. -12)

Kyle Chipchura (3-13-16. +2. 67 hits): Chipchura was an important role player for the Coyotes last season. He is a good young player who can hit, fight and make a nice pass when needed. I would not be surprised to see Chipchura back in a Coyotes uniform next season. COMPARABLE: Paul Gaustad (7-14-21. -1. 114 hits)

Michal Rozsival (1-12-13. +8. 62 hits 91 blocks): Rozsival flourished last season becoming one of the Coyotes most consistent defenseman. Rozsival had the second most time on ice in the post season only trailing Oliver Ekman-Larsson. With a high cap and many young defensemen on the way, the Coyotes will most likely part ways with Rozsival. COMPARABLE: Carlo Colaiacovo (2-17-19. +7. 73 hits 81 blocks)

Chris Summers (0-3-3. -4. 50 hits 19 blocks): Summers played well at times during his brief stint with the Coyotes last season. There are too many young defensemen ahead of Summers on the depth chart so the Coyotes will move on. COMPARABLE: Stu Bickel (0-9-9. +2. 68 hits 52 blocks)

Adrian Aucoin (2-7-9. +14. 97 hits 67 blocks): Aucoin has been a mainstay on the Coyotes defensive corps since Dave Tippett arrived in Phoenix. Aucoin was nicknamed “the closer” after being the shootout hero several times in the 2009-2010 season. Aucoin’s age and injury history coupled with all the defensive talent in the system may force Okie to either retire or move on. COMPARABLE:  Francois Bouillon (4-7-11. -4. 103 hits 65 blocks)

Reminder: Join me tomorrow right here on the Phoenix Coyotes page at Rant Sports as I will be continuously updating my free agents signing article. The intro will be up on the site at 9 amArizonatime and will be updated with every significant signing on Sunday for the Phoenix Coyotes and the rest of the NHL. Check back early and often!