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Phoenix Coyotes Off-season Review Written by Gerv - June 18th, 2010

Phoenix, Arizona

With 7 RFA's and 2 UFA's on the Pro roster in Phoenix along with 16 RFA's in San Antonio there could be a lot of turn over in the off-season.

Gervais Larouche admitted that he would assess the club himself since he is not looking to hire the coaching staff until the club is completed. "I just feel that there is no need to rush to find a suitable staff. I prefer to make sure all the pieces are in place so that they can come in and evaluate the staff with a fresh outlook."

Below is a look at the club and where the player stands

Patrick Marleau - LW/C - 82 GP 42 G 50 A 92 PTS +26

The captain scored career highs while leading the team in Goals, Assists, Points and Plus/Minus - Signed for 3 more years at 7.6 million. Some say his play in the playoffs could see him out of the desert even after a career year.

Derek Roy - C - 82 GP 36 G 49 A 85 PTS +16

Removed the C midway through the season and isolated himself from his teammates. Like Marleau he posted career numbers in the CMHL but after a hot start he faded down the stretch like in the playoffs. RFA that could be signed and traded.

Martin St. Louis - RW - 84 GP 25 G 40 A 65 PTS +20

Played a big part once he was acquired from Boston. Took a dip in points but the UFA will mostly benefit from an NHL re-rate and Larouche did say he wanted to keep him around as he adds major experience to a very young club. The skinny as it that two or three teams have already called the Yotes about his availability.

Mike Cammalleri - W/C - 82 GP 30 G 28 A 58 PTS -3

The GM is very high on Mike and made it clear that his days of playing on different teams are done. Cammalleri who as a distinction of playing for 6 different teams in 6 years hopes to be permanent in Phoenix. Very well liked in the room by teammates and very easy going around the press. Signed for 2 more years and could be on the first line this upcoming season.

Jordan Staal - C - 82 GP 22 G 31 A 53 PTS +9

Another player who had a career year. Staal played well on the second line and was bumped to the checking center line when David Krecji was acquired from Vancouver. With Martin gone, Jordan could again patrol the second line and maybe even see top power-play minutes. Like Cammi he is signed for 2 more years.

Ryan Whitney - D - 83 GP 13 G 40 A 53 PTS -6

Whitney acquired from Chicago signed for another year. He posted career numbers but struggled along with others to gel with many new faces on defense. With the team looking to add more toughness he could remain in Phoenix after leading the team in penalty minutes with 106.

Scott Hannan - D - 81 GP 15 G 36 A 51 PTS +6

Simply put Hannan played solid hockey but once he arrived in Phoenix he just was never able to get going. Was among top scoring dman before moving to Phoenix. Simply put his heart belongs in Vancouver and that was made clear by his wife.

Niklas Hagman - RW/LW - 79 GP 19 G 28 A 47 PTS -9

Hagman was part of the big blockbuster move including Schultz, Krejci and Hannan. Got a career high in points but struggled from the get go and was never able to get going. He did register 4 points in 7 games in the playoffs. Signed for another 2 years he will probably not be here when the trade freeze lifts.

Alexandre Picard - D - 82 GP 13 G 34 A 47 PTS +9

Now Alex as made it to the big time. His previous high in points was 17 points in LA before landing in the desert. Picard was the most consistent of the defenseman in Phoenix. Another year left on his contract and will surely be counted for big minutes at the tender age of 24.

Kristopher Letang - D - 82 GP 11 G 29 A 40 PTS -4

Letang came into is own even with limited ice time on 5 on 5 and better minutes on the power-play. Letang who brings speed and smart could be counted for a lot more this year and could move into the top four core of the club. Signed for another 2 years.

David Krejci - C - 82 GP 10 G 28 A 38 PTS +/- 0

Krejci struggled very badly in Vancouver and a change to Phoenix seem to refresh thing but the rookie centerman still could not recuperate from a slow start. However the playoffs were a complete different story. The young player led his team in scoring with 8 points in the playoffs. He truly showed what he was capable of and why Larouche insisted on him being part of the blockbuster deal with the Canucks. RFA and the Coyotes will surely want to resign him long term and make him a top priority to play top minutes along side Cammalleri.

Jordan Leopold - D - 71 GP 8 G 26 A 34 PTS -7

Jordan played along side Kris and was very helpful. However by the end of the season he was replaced by the giant defender Boris Valabik to bring in more grit. The club's biggest struggle was clearing the net and Leopold was one that suffered the most from it. Leopold is a RFA and will likely not be back in Phoenix. With the Coyotes looking to get grittier on defense Leopold will be left on the outside looking in.

Jeff Schultz - D - 81 GP 7 G 22 A 29 PTS +18

Worked his way to the top line and made the most of it by adding a defensive awareness that most struggled to bring in Phoenix. He was steady and brought in a workhorse mentality. Put up career numbers in a final year of his contract and with so many RFA's he may not be able to stay with the Coyotes and become a Salary Cap casualty but Larouche stated he would do his best to bring Jeff back.

Chris Higgins - LW - 82 GP 11 G 13 A 24 PTS -3

Simply put, Chris struggled and as asked the club to move him this off-season to start fresh. The kid as top 6 written all over him but he just cannot seem to get it all together. Maybe a fresh start is what is needed. Respectable contract and signed for 2 more years.

Ryan Callahan - RW/LW - 82 GP 11 G 13 A 24 PTS -6

The fireball wore the team emblem on his heart. He led the club in hits with 199 which only him and Marleau were above 100. Cally as he is known to teammates will be counted on again to play gritty and play against the top lines and with 2 years left under contract the Coyotes pray they can find more players like him.

Boyd Gordon - C/RW - 82 GP 8 G 14 A 22 PTS -1

Gordon bounced around from 3rd and 4th line duty and plainly struggled under Martin's coaching. Primarily known for his face-off wizardry he only register 55% and was just overall a season he would prefer to forget. He will need to step it up with 1 year left on his contract or face the reality that someone could take his place.

Adam Hall - RW - 82 GP 5 G 3 A 8 PTS -7

Like Gordon, Hall struggled and never got on track. Many around the team feel this was his last chance to prove himself. RFA now and Tootoo is knocking at the door and could be favored to replace him immediately.

Wyatt Smith - LW/C - 64 GP 4 G 2 A 6 PTS -3

Smith was to be counted on to bring leadership but suffered a huge blow and missed 18 games in the regular season along with the 7 playoff games. Wyatt is a UFA and will likely be replaced.

Ben Eager - RW/LW - 81 GP 2 G 4 A 6 PTS -1

Ben is another fireball, he was a waiver pick up and did not get much ice time. But with several players leaving he could get the chance to play 4th line minutes and be more of a regular. An RFA that will be resigned for sure.

Boris Valabik - D - 11 GP 0 G 2 A 2 PTS +/- 0

The Giant rookie played the last 11 games of the regular season and brought a mean streak to the Coyotes that was missing all season long. The RFA defenseman figures to be part of the clubs defensive core and should be counted on to be the 6th or 7th defenseman if he was to falter. He will be an important piece to be signed.

Marc-Andre Fleury - G - 74 GP 40 W 26 L 7 OTL 2.36 GAA .907 % 8 SO

Fleury posted career highs in every category and posted new club records with 40 wins and 8 shutouts. However the playoffs are still something he struggles with. Fleury only as mustered 6 wins in 15 playoff games and for a franchise goalie these numbers need to be better. The club now faces a tough dilemma. Fleury who just finished his contract is an RFA but at 3 million he is due for a big raise. The club does have an ace up it's sleeve with young upcoming Jonathan Quick if Fleury was to prove difficult to resign.

Jason Labarbera - G - 21 GP 5 W 4 L 0 OTL 2.65 GAA .889 % 1 SO

Jason was counted on to provide leadership and gave the Coyotes someone to lean on when MAF struggled. Some even feel that Labarbera should of been handed the reigns in the playoffs after Fleury struggled. He appeared in one game playing 52 minutes and in that game managed to have a 1.15 GAA and a .941 GAA and with 2 years left at 1.5 million he is a back up the club can count on.

San Antonio will be seeing a lot more changes then the pro club. 16 RFA's with many sure not to be returning. That list includes Brendan Bell who led the club with 85 points as a defenseman. Joining Bell to play outside of North America are Tim Ramholt, Vladislav Evseev and Johan Fransson. But Fransson could remain in San Antonio as rumor as it that he agreed to a one year deal to play here.

The only player that will be an impact and get a chance to join the pro club is listed below with is overview.

Jonathan Quick - G - 78 GP 45 W 21 L 5 OTL 2.41 GAA .907 % 5 SO

Quick made a huge impact for the club and many scouts figure he is ready to be a #1 goaltender in the CMHL. They could be right and Larouche will have to make a decision. The tough part is that not only Fleury must be signed but Quick is also an RFA and will be due for a nice raise. Huge decision awaits the club but one thing is for sure when the CMHL re-rates come out the club will have two legitimate goaltenders and may have to move one because of salary restrictions.

The club looks to be going in the right direction and the general manager is truly ready to shake the boat to make sure the team recovers from it's season struggle and make a better showing when the playoffs roll around. What we see here today could look very different when the trade freeze is lifted and the Draft and Free agent period is over. The one thing is for sure, Larouche will not be looking for excuse when he hires his coaching staff and the new players he acquires via trade or free agency. With many new general managers being hired this summer, the gm really looks to make new friends and become active on the trade front.

For the Phoenix Journal I am Phil McCracken.

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