With the Coyotes' ownership saga stealing all the headlines, GM Don Maloney, assistant GM Brad Treliving and coach Dave Tippett slipped quietly out of the state this week to attend Sundays NHL Draft.
Well have more on that event on Friday, but Maloney and Treliving both addressed the Coyotes free-agent situation before they left. Heres a quick update on the teams key unrestricted and restricted free agents.
Goalie Mike Smith: Maloney, Treliving and goalie coach Sean Burke met with Smith and his agent, Kurt Overhardt, last week in Vancouver, but Overhardt has repeatedly made it clear his client will not consider re-signing with Phoenix until the ownership saga is resolved.
We have a better idea where he stands and vice versa, Maloney said. Were still kind of working through some things to see if theres a gap that can be bridged or if theres a point of no return.
The good news, if there was any good news from the lockout, is that with free agency starting July 5, weve got a little extra time.
Earlier this offseason, Smith was believed to be seeking a long-term deal with an annual payment well above 6 million. Its unclear if that has changed or if he would accept a lower price to remain in Phoenix, where he's had his greatest and only sustained NHL success.
Smith posted a 2.58 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage while earning 2 million last season.
Forward Boyd Gordon: The Coyotes have had informal talks with Gordon, and Treliving met with him briefly up in Vancouver, but substantive talks have not yet begun. As Treliving noted, Smith is the team's No. 1 priority right now.
Gordon made 1.35 million last season and is considered a perfect fit in Tippetts system. He wins lots of face-offs, he blocks shots, he has a strong defensive game and he makes good decisions with the puck. Gordon had four goals and 14 points in 48 games last season.
Forward Kyle Chipchura: Treliving talked to Chipchuras agent this week and will also meet with him in New Jersey this weekend to get a sense of his contract needs. Chipchura made 675,000 last season. He adds grit, a physical game and sound defensive play. He had five goals and 14 points in 46 games last season.
Forward Mikkel Boedker: The Coyotes expect to extend a qualifying offer to the speedy and emerging Boedker by early next week. Since he made more than 1 million this past season, the qualifying offer would be for the same salary: 1.2M.
Boedker is arbitration eligible, and if he elects to go that route, a hearing would be held some time between mid-July and early August, assuming he and the Coyotes dont come to an agreement before then. If he does elect arbitration, the Coyotes would have the right to choose either a one-year or a two-year award under CBA rules.
He had seven goals and 26 points in 48 games last season. The Coyotes are hoping for much more offense from him next season.
Forward Lauri Korpikoski: The Coyotes expect to extend a qualifying offer to Korpikoski by early next week. Since he made more than 1 million this season, the qualifying offer would be for the same amount he made this season: 1.85 million.
Korpikoski is also arbitration eligible, and if he elects to go that route, a hearing would be held some time between mid-July and early August, assuming he and the Coyotes dont come to an agreement before then. And again, f he does elect arbitration, the Coyotes would have the right to choose either a one-year or a two-year award under collective bargaining agreement rules.
Korpikoski had six goals and 11 points in 36 games last season.
Defenseman Michael Stone: Treliving has spoken with Stones agent and categorized those conversations as positive. I dont foresee any problems, he said.
Stones two-way game made enormous progress as last season progressed. His base salary was 575,000, with playing bonuses of 212,500. He had five goals and nine points in 40 games last season.
Defenseman David Rundblad: There were reports earlier this offseason that Rundblad, who is still being developed in the minor leagues, might play in the KHL this season. Heres what Treliving had to say.
"He is a European (Swedish) guy, and they have options. We like David a lot and think theres a real good upside to him still developing. I know David wants to play in the NHL at the end of the day. Is there opportunity for European players elsewhere? Sure. But I dont view that as leverage. If someone is willing to pay them X over there, God bless them. Weve got a salary structure to work with.
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