Latest on the Coyotes – May 6, 2013.

The Coyotes brass wants to upgrade their talent, but their ownership issues could cost them Mike Smith.

Coyotes ownership woes could cost them Mike Smith.

Coyotes ownership woes could cost them Mike Smith.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney acknowledged his club needed to improve their offensive depth. McLellan listed Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder and Nathan Horton as possible free agent targets. Maloney wants to re-sign goalie Mike Smith, but until they resolve the ownership situation, Smith is reluctant to re-sign. Backup Jason Labarbera is also slated to become a free agent this summer and center Boyd Gordon is a re-signing priority for Maloney. Talks have begun for a new contract with RFA forward Mikkel Boedker.

On May 2, McLellan reported the lack of ownership could restrict the resources Maloney needs to re-sign Mike Smith. After years of one- or two-year deals, he’s proven himself as a starting goalie and seeks a lucrative long-term deal. McLellan suspects Smith could seek a deal comparable to the six-year, $33 million deal recently signed by teammate Oliver Ekman-Larssen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be a shame if the Coyotes lost Smith to free agency because of their ownership situation. Maloney obviously wants to re-sign him, and Smith – grateful the club took a chance on him two years ago after the Tampa Bay Lightning cut him loose – would love to stay. Meanwhile, the league can offer no certainty new ownership will be found before the free agency period, let alone if any buyers can be found willing to keep the club in Glendale. That could affect their efforts to not only retain Smith, but also other key free agents like Gordon and Boedker.

12 Comments

  1. I always liked the Phoenix franchise, but it’s time to pull the plug on it. Just let it go already.

  2. i could see briere back in the desert by summer’s end.

    smith has looked great for the coyotes, but really the coyotes have made him look great. tippett and a great team defensive system has been making good goalies great for some time now -just look at bryzgalov in philly or smith before he came to phoenix. if smith will resign at a reasonable rate (and give him some term he deserves 4 to 5 years) then great, resign him. but if he wants too much money, cut him loose and find another mediocre under-performing goalie and make him a vezina candidate.

    • Fan favorite Chipchura is also slated for UFA status. Both GM Maloney and Coach Tippet are on expiring contracts.

    • I would be really stunned if Briere ends up in Phoenix. A) He’s stressed that he doesn’t want to uproot his family, which would be exactly what he would have to do to move over to Phoenix. B) With the ownership situation of the Coyotes being so shaky, there’s no guarantees that if, for example, he signed a 3 year contract with Phoenix, that they wouldn’t up and move the team to Quebec City for years 2 and 3, meaning Danny would have to move his family AGAIN.

      Call me crazy, but a team that wouldn’t shock me at all would be Jersey, or if a buyout gets ugly, Briere could go to Pittsburgh just to “stick it” to the Flyers (although Danny didn’t strike me as that type of person at all).

      • THewes: He does not have to sign contract he has a contract. Briere never said he would not waive his NTC. He said that “his preference is to stay with Philadelphia Flyers” word for word.

    • I do say, you chaps are quite funny.

  3. I could also see Yotes trading for Briere. Not a major trade but a cap moving type of trade. 3rd round pick of some C prospect. Hell maybe even 2nd round pick if Homer plays his cards right.

    Briere is still good for 50pts, still can play on PK and still ppg player in playoffs.

  4. The NHL’s refusal to address this situation properly is costing a promising franchise and going to quickly force it back into mediocrity.

    • So the League is supposed to hold a gun to some billionaire’s head and tell him to sign the papers to take on an average-at-best franchise that hemorrhages money every season?
      I’d say the largest roadblocks are two-fold; a) No one wants the team, and b) Gary’s too hardheaded & stubborn to admit that Canada has a better hockey market than his Sunbelt Hockey cities (Phoenix, Tampa, Florida, Atlanta, etc) even after the financial success that Winnipeg has proved to be. With a willing buyer in Quebec City, it should really only be a matter of time before the Nordiques are reborn. “Should” is the operative word however, since Gary doesn’t use logic or financial sense to make decisions.

  5. The only way the coyotes get moved is if Bettman admits defeat and realizes that hockey in the desert is a lost cause. This saga may go on forever though as Gary can’t handle having a bruised ego. It should be obvious by now that not even a super rich guy has any interest in losing money hand over fist.
    I don’t get all this fuss about Briere, first he is getting older, injury prone, underachieves in the regular season, plays better in the playoffs but doesn’t get the team over the top, doesn’t want to move, has a cap hit of 6.5 million.
    If you were a free agent would you re-sign or sign in Phoenix. Even if they were responsible for rejuvenating your career. I would have a hard time doing so because of all the uncertainty. Hewes is right, about the team moving. I know as a player I sure the hell wouldn’t want to move to Quebec City especially if I were not a francophone

    • First, Brière will be a buyout by the Flyers, so he’s not going to be traded, and may very well be signed by another team at a very low salary cap hit, New Jersey seems like a good fit.

      Secondly, people do speak English in Quebec and if a player doesn’t want play here we’ll get rid of him, Quebec will be a great hockey city with a brand new building and players will be treated extremely well.

      It’s just a matter of WHEN will it happen not IF it will happen. Get used to it the Nordiques will be back.

  6. Even though Calgary has a backlog of goalies in the system, none of them are proven and are not #1 starting material as of right now. I for one would like to see Smith in a Flames’ jersey as I do not believe Kipper will be back next year. I would only like to see Smith here if he is not asking ridiculous money and term. If that’s the case, then pass and go with Karri Ramo and MacDonald next year.