RFAs, UFAs and Signings. OH MY!

The Coyotes have eight UFAs and five RFAs (now down to four) this off season. With the questions of ownership still looming (I had a whole other article on this but it has changed again…), will Don Maloney be able to get the keepers signed? Looking at the RFAs first… they should be the easiest to sign. Well, unless someone else really, really wants them and gives an amazing offer sheet…

This is the first thing to pop up when you google NHL Free Agent
Courtesy of NHL Sniper.com

Since we have already Signed Scottie Upshall I will start with him. He is definitely a keeper. He was on fire last season before his injury. He had great chemistry with Lombardi (a UFA) and he adds a much needed energy to the team.

Martin Hanzal – keeper. He is still young and still learning. He goes up against other teams big lines and does well defensively. I would like to see him win more face offs and score more consistently. It comes in streaks. And when he is good offensively, he loses his defensive abilities.

Daniel Winnik – no opinion. I wouldn’t miss him if he was gone. He’s a good fourth liner and penalty killer. He could score more (we really do need some more offense talent..)

Wojtek Wolski  – keeper. I’m biased. I see this kids potential. I noticed it when he was with Colorado and was excited when we got him for Mueller. He needs to come up with a new shoot out move though. We need him to score those goals!

Sami Lepisto – keeper. He improved defensively over the season but lost his scoring touch. He helped Finland earn a bronze at the olympics. This kid will only get better. I would like to see him get some of that scoring mojo back! (Are we seeing a trend here?)

UFAs. Oi, this is much harder since anyone can just sign them and we are left with nothing but a broken heart and empty spot. Then we need to try and sign an outsider to fill the spot, such a hassle! We have four skaters and four D going UFA. Yes, you read that right… FOUR DMEN! If we can’t get at least a couple of them signed, we have a lot to work to do or we gotta get the youngens to step up. Either way its a scary thought!

Centers: Lombardi and Lang
Lombardi is definitely a keeper. He is fast and has fantastic chemistry with Upshall. Hopefully the signing of Upshall is a good sign and Lombardi will be inclined to stay. I’m pretty sure Lang is done.He was injured at the end of the season and barely played. And when he did he was ineffective.

Wingers: Pyatt and Stempniak
I could go either way with both of these guys.  Both had good games and both had bad. Pyatt was most effective when he played physically. Stempniak was a scoring machine until the playoffs (where he disappeared). I wouldn’t mind keeping both but would only be sad if Pyatt went elsewhere (and that’s just for my own viewing pleasure). =]

And now the Dmen…
Morris and Aucoin – attempt to keep them
Schneider – gone
Michalek – truly the only
MUST keep

Z is the only must keep. We need his defensive abilities and shot blocking courage. We also need someone steady and trustworthy to be Jovo’s keeper until his contract is finally no longer our problem.

Schneider is gone. He’s old and not much use. He only played a few games. He was effective ont he point for the power play but that was pretty much all he offered us.

Morris and Aucoin are both guys you try to keep but if it doesn’t happen you can look for replacements. DMo has that shot. Aucoin is The Closer. Both provide steady veteran presence. Both would be welcomed back with open arms, especially DMo. We all love DMo.

We have no goalies who are any kind of FA. So that about covers it. Now we just have to sit back, put our feet up and let Maloney do all the hard work!

Also, we have resigned AHLer’s Ryan Hollewag and The Real Schlem Shady. Excited about Schlemko. I love that kid. He also showed he can hang with the big boys this season. If we can’t get all of the Dmen resigned or get other UFAs, I think he has a good shot at making the team. If not this season, then next. He is coming along nicely.

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