Archive for the ‘Phoenix Coyotes’ Category

Howling for Faux-hawks? (Pick #12)

July 25, 2009

12. The Phoenix Coyotes/Odin Mercer from Five for Howling pick Mike Green. Arizona hair product manufacturers scramble to prepare stock for October.

Cap Hit: $5,250,000

O-zone Impact: troubling

(OK, that’s my last faux hawk joke. For today.)

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Five for Howling presents its Phoenix Coyotes draft thoughts

June 22, 2009

It’s been a tough couple months for the Phoenix Coyotes. They came (this) close to being the Ontario Black-Berrys and just about everyone crapped on their franchise. Needless to say, the team isn’t out of the woods yet, but for now the Coyotes are staying in the desert.

Our main source of Coyotes information and opinions is “Five for Howling,” the Phoenix Coyotes Sports Blog Nation representative run by Odin Mercer. FfH has been a great source of information and dissenting opinions as the ‘Yotes are not necessarily the most heavily covered team in the league.

Make sure to follow Five for Howling and congratulate Odin Mercer on the team staying in the valley of the sun.

1. Now that the dust has settled on the, um, Blackberry scenario, the Coyotes have a high draft pick to sort out. Who do you expect the Coyotes to pick this year and do you think that player could have an immediate impact on the roster?

Well I think that if the Coyotes keep the 6th pick they should go with Jared Cowen. They’ll do the due diligence to make sure that knee is okay but if it is he’ll be solid on the blueline for years to come. Barring any surprise drop of one of the other top players I think he’s our pick.

2. The Coyotes cleared out a lot of salary at the trade deadline (Jokinen, Morris, etc.) and there were reports that the team was struggling financially. How limited do you expect the teams movements to be? Do you think the ‘Yotes will make some moves at the draft?

Well we already saw the Reinprecht deal with Florida, which wasn’t anything big, but shows you how good Don Maloney is at getting something for nothing. In another 2 weeks he would have just walked and signed somewhere where now we at least get a prospect for him. We’ve got a lot of dollars to spend before we even get to the salary floor though so look for the RFAs to all get locked up and for Don Maloney to go after some mid range UFAs that he can get a deal on like he did Kurt Sauer last year who was a steal at 4 years and just under 2 mil per. I think you’ll see moves, but nothing like the Jokinen trade from last year. We’ll have to be really creative.

3. Looking back, describe some of the best moments in the Coyotes/Jets drafting history. Are there any players who stand out as “steals” or moves that defined the franchise in a positive way that stand out to you?

I think the obvious is Shane Doan. You couldn’t ask for a better captain. He’s stuck with the team through everything win or lose. While I don’t know if that’s a steal, it’s certainly the best pickup we ever made. Once we got some better management in here and put Don Maloney in charge we’ve really gotten better in the draft department. Sure we won’t really know how those players turn out for a few more years, but Boedker, Turris , Tikhonov, as well as Hanzal and Mueller, these are all solid pickups in the recent past that could be huge for us.

4. On the other hand, what are some moves the Coyotes would surely take back? Tell us about some of the darker moments in Phoenix(and/or Winnipeg’s) draft history.

The most recent poor pick was Blake Wheeler, we both picked him way too early and obviously didn’t go into that pick with our eyes open as to what he was going to want as far as playing for our team. Then as you go back you have the entire 2003 class which played a total of 0 NHL games though our first round pick did manage to lead the Arizona Sundogs to the CHL championship in 2008. I guess that’s something. The 1999 draft had us take 9 players that played a grand total of 49 games. So we’ve had some really gems of drafts.

5. Soapbox time: feel free to take the floor about the Coyotes, whether it be the draft or the relocation worries. What would you like to tell the blogosphere, in general? I imagine there might be a few things you’d like to get off your chest …

Mostly I just want to tell those that have been supportive thanks and those that haven’t to take a long walk off a short pier. Just about any team could be the next to have this happen to them and jeering at other fans and hoping for them to lose their team just heaps bad karma onto yourself. Sure the economics could be better, and wanting a team in your own city is understandable, but attacking fans of another team isn’t going to help anything or accomplish anything other than make those doing it look like stupid gits. Long live the PHOENIX Coyotes!

Where should the Sedins cycle in 2009-10?

May 11, 2009

July isn’t that far off into the future, really. Every now and then, we’ll take a look at some of the more interesting free agent situations.

Since we named this crazy little blog after the Sedin twins, it only makes sense to start with them. Now that the Canucks are out of the playoffs, let’s ask: where will those whacky gingers land?

***

How much are the Sedin twins worth? From what I’ve read, it sounds like it will take about $13 million to wrap up those weird looking twingers. James Mirtle provided a fantastic rundown detailing the fact that they might just in fact be worth that much cash (and cap space). With that in mind, let’s take a look at the teams that should strongly consider wrapping those freakish little Swedes up:

Vancouver
Salary Cap 2009-10: (without Sedins) about $31.3 million; (with Sedins) about $44.3 million

Naturally, the team that drafts you usually gets the benefit of the doubt in re-signing a player. The Canucks have improved this season as players like Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler raise their games, but they still would be extremely weak offensively if they let their two point-per-game players go via free agency. If the Canucks are willing to tie their future to the Sedin twins, then they have the money to do it.

Twin-o-meter:

Almost too obvious, like a reference to the movie “Twins.”

New York Islanders
The Islanders cap (with or without the Sedins) is a bit hard to figure because I still haven’t quite wrapped my mind around how rookie contracts will show up on the cap. As you may or may not already know, incentive clauses will be reflected differently on next year’s cap numbers.

If Hockey Buzz’s NHLSCAP page is correct, the Islanders currently have about $32.5 million committed to players going into the 2009-10 season. The good news is that money constitutes nearly enough roster spots to fill a whole team. The bad news is that those roster spots would be filled mostly be awful hockey players.

John Tavares (please tell me the Islanders draft him, they’ve made enough mistakes already … just take the big name Canadian forward and move on) will mean a cap hit between $1 million and $4 million. In a worst case scenario, adding the Sedins and Tavares would bring the cap to $50 million.

This would give the Islanders four nice offensive players (Tavares – Sedin twins – Kyle Okposo) to construct to respectable forward lines. This could actually be a good move if Rick Dipietro can bounce back from knee surgery, but there’s just so many “ifs” that it would be hard to imagine the Sedin twins going to Long Island.

Twin-o-meter:

Could be awesome, but could also be a train wreck … like the Olsen twins

Nashville Predators
Pre-Sedin Cap: $33 million; With Sedins: $46 million

While it wasn’t the first match that came to my head, it almost makes sense. After all, isn’t cycling the puck hockey’s answer to the line dance? (cricket chirps … dodges a tomato)

The Predators could conceivably bring the Sedins aboard and pair them up (perhaps) with tail-between-his-legs Alex Radulov to give the team what could be the franchise’s greatest line ever. The Sedins seem like they would fit in nicely with the Predators’ worker bee mentality.

You’d have to think they could make the playoffs with a core of Sedins-Radulov(?)-Jason ArnottShea WeberPekka RinneJ.P. Dumont, right?

Twin-o-meter:

Could be brilliant, but might upset mainstream audiences like “Dead Ringers.”

The Southern Ontario Team-to-be-Named-Laters
Pre-Sedins Cap: $32.1 million, with Sedins: $45.1 million

If the Coyotes DO get moved, you know Mr. Blackberry will want to bring some top-end talent to a roster that was gutted during the trade deadline. There are some really nice steals and semi-steals on this roster: Shane Doan is a nice power forward who could fit in well with the Sedins at a low price ($4.55 million cap hit) and Kyle Turris/Peter Mueller both have sub-$3 million contracts that could end up being steals in the right situation.

Who knows: the South Hamilton ex-Yotes could end up adding Jay Bouwmeester and the Sedins for $20 million and make a lot of people nervous.

Twin-o-meter:

Could be ugly, like the Phoenix Coyotes situation and the movie “Stuck on You.”

Black-buried?

May 6, 2009

After courting the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators, Jim Balsillie might find that the third (attempted NHL franchise move) will be the charm. If he can get through “Scary” Gary Bettman‘s hidden traps.

(Bettman only approves of owners who hate Canada and don’t have money, I guess.)

Let me say this: I’m no expert when it comes to the true vitality of the hockey market in Phoenix and certainly not an expert on how a team could make its way to Southern Ontario despite the pleas of the Toronto Maple Leafs (monopoly) and Buffalo Sabres (who mop up the Leafs’ table scraps). So if you want insider info, look at the blogs on the sidebar.

With that out of the way, let’s look at this a bit more:

Point 1: Mr. Blackberry will not be stopped

There are shades of “MLB owners black balling Mark Cuban” in this situation. When you consider all the criminal/shady/snake oil salesmen owners the NHL has approved, it’s pretty stunning that the league has a problem with the guy behind one of the most successful companies around. (Seriously, try to make it through a workday in DC without spotting a Blackberry)

He’s the freaking Terminator here, guys. Let him have his damn team.

Point 2: Another team in Canada = good

It might not show up in the American TV ratings, but it’s good for the sport for people to see hockey games celebrated as true events. Even if the league never seems to appreciate its Canadian fans (always looking for greener, American pastures) the fact of the matter is that having another Canadian team would mean more money in the big picture.

With what would be a deep-pocketed market, Mirtle points out that cash-poor teams will grumble about seeing the cap floor rise … but wouldn’t that be a boon for teams that will be bumping up against the top-end of cap? Yeah, something tells me that the league might care a little bit more about the Penguins, Red Wings and Rangers getting a bit more cap space than the Kings having a $32 million budget instead of $30 million.

(Seriously, great point by Mirtle but am I the only person who finds the idea a bit backwards?)

Point 3: A history of silence

Again, I’m no expert about the Coyotes place in the Arizona sports landscape.

But when your gravy days are centered around Keith Tkachuk wearing those Phoenix “Peyotes” jerseys and the short period of time before Nik Khabibulin folded his arms and held out for my money, you might not have the most successful hockey franchise out there.

There’s always some karma problems with moving a franchise (see: Sonics, Seattle), but it hurts much more when the new team continues the same losing tradition. The Coyotes are in a brutal division, in a brutal economic climate and … they play in the desert.

Maybe this just wasn’t meant to be.

Point 4: Still, don’t forget a few hearts would be broken

Odin Mercer from Five for Howling is a great guy and I feel bad for him. Even despite living in Texas and New Jersey all my life, the thought of the Pittsburgh Penguins moving to Kansas City was very hard for me to stomach. Without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Mario Lemieux, the Penguins could be in the same place as the Coyotes.

People (especially Canadians) tend to forget that even the least traditional hockey markets still have plenty of diehard fans.

***

Ultimately, it’s unclear if the Coyotes will move to Southern Ontario. For all we know, they could stay put or become the Hamilton Ex-Yotes. There also could be a Plan C: moving the Coyotes to Kansas City or Las Vegas.

It would be wrong if the NHL had to baby bird the Coyotes just to avoid some embarrassment. But from the looks of things right now, there isn’t one easy answer.

Blogger GM vs. Real-life GM: Pacific Division

March 9, 2009

To wrap up our Trade Deadline coverage, we’ll take a look at the big moves (and non-moves) in each division one-by-one. Did our contributors and their respective GMs see eye-to-eye? Would those guest posts provide a better reality than what really came about? Let’s take a look at the Pacific division:

Real Life: San Jose trades away Kyle McLaren, also deal for Travis Moen and Kent Huskins.
Mr. Plank from Fear the Fin said:

Interesting possibilities across the board, but at the end of the day I say stand pat and go with the roster. You have the high profile stars in Thornton and Marleau, a second line that could be a top line on many teams in the league, depth, experience on the blueline, Cup rings, agitators and veteran leaders. The list honestly goes on and on.

The Sharks didn’t do anything significant, but did move around some supporting cast members. Let’s say, half-right Mr. Plank.

Real Life: Los Angeles Kings ship Patrick O’Sullivan to Edmonton in three-way trade that nets the Kings Justin Williams
Rudy Kelly from Battle of California said:

A guy like Kopitar, you see, he’s in the Center #1/A/Sec. 43-B box. That’s a good box. A guy like O’Sullivan, on the other hand, is in the 32-1=”Box O’Shame” box, so we’ll see where that goes.

Rudy called it … kind of? I think. Oh my God there’s blood coming out of my ears!

Real Life:For Derek Morris, Daniel “PIM” Carcillo, Olli Jokinen, M. Tellqvist and a third round pick the Coyotoes added:

  • Calgary’s 1st round pick
  • Philadelphia’s 2nd round pick
  • Buffalo’s 4th round pick
  • Peter Prucha
  • Dimitri Kalinin
  • Nigel Dawes
  • Scottie Upshall
  • Matthew Lombardi
  • Brandon Prust

Odin Mercer from Five for Howling said:

Olli Jokinen has done alright for us, but I’d trade him in a heartbeat if I could get a good deal for him. Also, I’d trade Jovanovski for a bag of pucks to get rid of that money and give it to Morris. Just take a look at Jason Arnott’s goal against us on 2/26 and you’ll see why I’m eager to do that. After the recent losing streaks, I’d just grab as many high level picks as I could since the playoffs are out of reach again. Which sucks! So long as we don’t go trading for players we don’t need just to dump money.

Well done, Odin Mercer!

Real Life: Ducks trade away Sammy Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Kent Huskins in a couple trades. Earlier on traded Chris Kunitz for Ryan Whitney. Brendan Morrison was claimed by the Dallas Stars. (Takes a breath) Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer stay in Anaheim.
Earl Sleek from Battle of California said:

Option A (not that silly):

— Anaheim Ducks trade Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin, and Drew Miller to Buffalo for Drew Stafford, Nathan Gerbe, and a 1st

(And some other silly stuff.)

Wrong. But who could have predicted all of those moves?

Real Life: Stars do nothing but claim Brendan Morrison from waivers
Brandon from Defending Big D said:

The Stars aren’t in trouble because their main lineup is bad, they’re in trouble because of some debilitating injuries some very key players. Ride out the season with what we have and hope for the best.

Correct! Well done, Brandon.

If you were the GM (Pacific division)

March 4, 2009

(With the trade deadline upon us, Cycle like the Sedins decided to ask about 30 or so friends in the blogosphere to represent his or her team and answer the question: “What would you do if you were the GM during the trade deadline?

Since things change in a heartbeat, the date of each person’s submission is listed next to each entry. So before you start screaming “BUT THEY TRADED HIM!” while food spills out of your mouth, we’re showing what they thought at the time.

Don’t like it? Psh.)

San Jose Sharks

Mr. Plank from Fear the Fin
(2/24)

If I’m Doug Wilson, I stand pat at the deadline unless I’m moving prospects (Lukas Kaspar in particular) for a UFA who can contribute with bottom line some scoring punch. Jonathan Cheechoo’s name is bound to be tossed around, but moving him this year would be a mistake in my opinion- he’s a solid third line winger who gives us scoring depth, and has brought too much to this franchise to deal in a year when the Sharks are poised to make yet another run for the Stanley Cup. The potential problem with the fanbase/locker room coupled with the fact that we probably wouldn’t be receiving a high-profile gamebreaker in return makes me leery of that type of deal.

The funny thing about the deadline however is that the Sharks might be in “read and react” mode. Detroit is still the team to beat of course, but the Sharks have held onto that top spot in the West for the entire season. If Detroit picks up a guy like Manny Fernandez/Vesa Toskala, do the Sharks react and try to add some depth and sacrifice a little of the future? Does Dous Doug Wilson join the Toronto firesale and add Nik Antropov? What if Dallas, Chicago, or Calgary makes a move?

Interesting possibilities across the board, but at the end of the day I say stand pat and go with the roster. You have the high profile stars in Thornton and Marleau, a second line that could be a top line on many teams in the league, depth, experience on the blueline, Cup rings, agitators and veteran leaders. The list honestly goes on and on.

But hey- DW has pulled a rabbit out of his hat before. That’s why we call him The Godfather.

Chris Kontos: Like Detroit, don’t mess with success. It’s actually good that the Sharks haven’t been as dominate recently as they’ve been all year… it reminds them that there is still the playoffs ahead. With Grier and Roenick out until the start of the playoffs the Sharks don’t need to pick up any veteran players (remember how well Bill Guerin worked out) and they should 100% keep Cheechoo around. That’s a not a bad player to have on your 3rd line for a Stanley Cup run.

James O’Brien: This team is as good as it’s going to get. Just suck it up, Sharkies.

***

Los Angeles Kings
Rudy Kelly from Battle of California
(2/28)

I’ll tell ya, the thing about the trade deadline is, the thing you need to understand, is that it’s all about boxes. You got your boxes and you can’t deviate from that plan. A guy like Kopitar, you see, he’s in the Center #1/A/Sec. 43-B box. That’s a good box. A guy like O’Sullivan, on the other hand, is in the 32-1=”Box O’Shame” box, so we’ll see where that goes. I could see us trading Erik Ersberg, although everyone knows the old saying, “The sands of time go only down,” so I don’t know if we’ll trade him. Denis Gauthier might also go, but he’s a Stallion so I don’t know if I want to part with him. And maybe we’ll trade for a gamebreaker, but only if he knows how to work from the backend, because, as we all know, “Eagles only fly in fair wind.” Plus, you know, the boxes.

-Dean Lombardi

Chris Kontos: Who cares about the Kings? That team SUCKS!(how awesome would it be if they pick up Ryan Smyth for a young defenseman/goaltender? I wonder what box of Lombardi’s that would fit in?)

James O’Brien: The Kings are a year away, so if they can stock up on a few more draft picks/prospects then so be it. As Rudy said on BoC today, they could also be interested in that no-name Russian guy in Hotlanta.

***

Phoenix Coyotes (no guest entry yet)
Odin Mercer from Five for Howling:

As GM of the Coyotes right now, I’d be in a tough spot. On one hand you’ve got a decent group that could use some better coaching quite frankly. Derek Morris would be resigned it whatever deal got the job done, but right now the Coyotes can’t be saddled with a big long term deal until they get their books in order. Olli Jokinen has done alright for us, but I’d trade him in a heartbeat if I could get a good deal for him. Also, I’d trade Jovanovski for a bag of pucks to get rid of that money and give it to Morris. Just take a look at Jason Arnott’s goal against us on 2/26 and you’ll see why I’m eager to do that. After the recent losing streaks, I’d just grab as many high level picks as I could since the playoffs are out of reach again. Which sucks! So long as we don’t go trading for players we don’t need just to dump money.

Chris Kontos: Sell. Sell. Sell. Sign Gretzky and Grant Fuhr to player contracts for the remainder of the season. Then sign Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri and Charlie Huddy and you have the makings of the 1990 Los Angeles Kings.

James O’Brien: I’d be against selling, but they clearly are in some kind of financial bind. So, sell away I guess *sigh*.

***

Anaheim Ducks

Sorry, Brett.
Earl Sleek from Battle of California (March 2)

Option A (not that silly):

— Anaheim Ducks trade Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin, and Drew Miller to Buffalo for Drew Stafford, Nathan Gerbe, and a 1st
Option B (a little sillier):
— Anaheim Ducks trade Scott and Rob Niedermayer and an embarrassing photo of Brian Burke to Vancouver for Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Brotherhood is preserved.
Option C (whatever):
— Anaheim Ducks trade Brett Hedican to the Anaheim Angels for the right to a few more parking spots.

Chris Kontos: This is an interesting one. New GM Bob Murray is thinking about the future… witness last weeks trade with the Penguins. And if he’s able to get the farm for Pronger… an amazing defenseman, but someone on the 2nd half of his career… I think you have to go for it, right?

James O’Brien: The Ducks are going to be really interesting to watch. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are one of the best bang for your buck duos in the league. Do they stick with veterans or go young? It’s looking like the latter, but who knows.

***

Dallas Stars

The Stars are clearly in able hands

Brandon from Defending Big D (March 2)

If I were Les Jackson and Brett Hull I would be resisting every urge possible to make a big splash on Wednesday. The Stars are in the midst of six game skid and are in grave danger of not making the playoffs.

n a city that craves success, especially from the Stars, the G.M.’s are to going to be feeling the pressure to do something, anything that would put them back in the middle of the playoff hunt. Yet the Stars must be careful to not mortgage the future of the team by giving up draft picks, prospect or young wingers just to find a temporary, soon to be unrestricted free agent solution.

The Stars aren’t in trouble because their main lineup is bad, they’re in trouble because of some debilitating injuries some very key players. Ride out the season with what we have and hope for the best.

Chris Kontos: They should get Avery back. This team has been in a tailslide since they made arrangements for him to go to New York.

James O’Brien: Just a real tough couple of breaks for the Stars. If I were their GM, though, I’d run a firesale on the veterans. Sergei Zubov is about to be an unrestricted free agent. Convince him to pull a Keith Tkachuk back-and-forth. Mike Modano? Keep him for the whole “lifetime player” thing. But Jere Lehtinen? Feel around. This team needs an injection of youth.