NHL Free Agency: Will The Yotes Jump Back Into The Free Agent Pool?
The Phoenix Coyotes still have more than $9 million to spend against the salary cap to reach the floor. While the majority of that money will be filled if Shane Doan signs, and the rest of the money used to extend the contracts of goalie Mike Smith and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Yotes still may decide to sign a 4th line center or depth players to the roster.
This article will examine the top seven remaining unrestricted free agents (sans Doan) that are available and the chance that I believe they have to land with the Coyotes.
1. Alexander Semin (21-33-54; +9): Semin leads all remaining UFAs in points scored last season. Semin could add some scoring depth that the Coyotes really need. But, problems defensively and in the locker room will most likely cause the Coyotes to look elsewhere. CHANCE that Semin is signed: Low
2. Petr Sykora (21-23-44; +4): Sykora is a solid, hard-working player that can contribute 20+ goals per season. Sykora has scored at least 21 goals in 11 of his last 12 NHL seasons. The Coyotes should pursue Sykora for a 3rd line role. CHANCES: Medium
3. Andrei Kostitsyn (16-20-36; -1): Kostitsyn is famous in the greater Phoenix area because of partying and the ensuing suspension of himself and teammate Alexander Radulov during the Western Conference Semi-Finals a couple months ago. Like Semin, Kostitsyn can provide 20+ goals but is very questionable on defense and in the locker room. CHANCES: Very Low
4. Jason Arnott (17-17-34; +13): Arnott may be 37, but he still is a solid center who is very responsible defensively. That fact is backed up by his +81 career plus/minus. Arnott can still score 17-18 goals and bring a veteran presence to the locker room. CHANCES: Medium
5. Daymond Langkow (11-19-30; -4): Ah yes, old friend times two: Daymond Langkow. As stated in previous articles, there will be heavy competition for the 4th line centerman role, who better to join the fray than last season’s 4th line center? The Coyotes are reportedly interested in bringing him back and he could slip right back into the 4th line. CHANCES: High
6. Gilbert Brule (5-9-14; +7): Speaking of old friends, Brule played 33 games for the Coyotes last season along with several playoff games. Brule was initially an RFA before he was untendered by the Coyotes. Brule is now a UFA and may sign with the Coyotes at a discounted price. Brule told Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett that playing with Phoenix last season was the most fun he has had playing hockey. CHANCES: Fairly High
7. Andrew Brunette (12-15-27; -13): Age is catching up to Brunette as his points have declined sharply the last two seasons. Brunette, 38, has seen his point totals drop from 61 to 46 to 27 over the last three seasons. Brunette may not have much left in the tank, but still can provide 15 goals in a season. CHANCES: Fairly Low
The Coyotes have plenty of money to work with and it will be interesting to see if the Yotes continue to delve into the free agent market.