The Phoenix Coyotes have quite a bit of work to do with their roster this summer. Once they can be certain that they will be remaining in the desert for the long term, which would bring about some sort of real budget, they can begin to make the necessary improvements.
Before they can start adding talent, though, particularly in the offensive end, they need to take care of their own first. Which means that they need to handle the free agents currently on the roster. They took care of one already, signing Rob Klinkhammer to a two-year deal. Next in line could be Lauri Korpikoski.
Korpikoski has been a key piece of the Coyotes for the past few seasons. He’s set to become a restricted free agent this summer. Though he didn’t put much up on the stat sheet, he’s able to contribute in multiple ways for this Coyotes organization.
Prior to this year, which was a season in which he was slowed by injury, Korpikoski had proven to be an excellent source of secondary scoring for Phoenix. He had 26 combined goals in the past two years, totalling 77 points and a plus-20 rating.
But Korpikoski is important to the Coyotes in more ways than what he does on the stat sheet. He’s one of their top penalty killers, logging more shorthanded minutes than all but two Coyote forwards this year. He was sixth overall among forwards in TOI per game in 2013.
Though the Coyotes need more than just secondary scoring in order to help jumpstart their typically stagnant offense, bringing back Korpikoski should be a priority for them. They should easily be able to lock him up on a two or a three-year deal at a decent price, giving them a solid option for some secondary scoring and extra help on the PK.