Every time we keep doubting the Phoenix Coyotes, they just continue to win – despite not having any players hitting the 20-goal mark so far. Dave Tippett’s disciplined, efficient system continues to win games, especially with Ilya Bryzgalov heating up.
The ownership situation continues to loom overhead, meaning that GM Don Maloney has to make tough, honest decisions regarding Phoenix’s large crop of upcoming UFAs. Even though Bryzgalov is part of that group, he’s probably the one UFA that’s absolutely safe from moving anywhere, especially with Phoenix currently in the lead for the oh-so-tight Pacific Division.
Status: Buyer and seller. With ownership still uncertain, asset management is extra important to the Coyotes.
Need: Blueline help to stabilize the penalty kill, scoring in any form, a power play specialist to boost a bottom-third extra-man unit.
Players On The Block: Radim Vrbata ($3 million), Scottie Upshall ($2.25 million), Vernon Fiddler ($1.1 million), Eric Belanger ($0.75 million), Ed Jovanovski ($6.5 million)
Prediction: Don Maloney probably doesn’t want to mess with his team chemistry (or whatever goals-for he has), but some lateral moves to get assets for UFA contracts seems to be in the cards.
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This story was written by Mike Chen.