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The New Look Phoenix Coyotes Written by Habs_4_life - September 11th, 2012

Above is the Coyotes new Captain Big Z, Zdeno Chara who was acquired from Boston this off-season to provide leadership and protection for the Coyotes Jonathan Quick. Below is new scoring forward Blake Comeau who was acquired from Tampa Bay for disgruntled forward Kyle Turris. Blake brings a wealth of playoff experience and a cup ring to his new club.

 

Phoenix, Arizona -

The Coyotes have had a quiet off-season. Phoenix took a slow approach to their first off-season after failing to make the playoffs under their GM Larouche took over. The first order of business was the club looking to change it's image.

So Larouche went looking to add a big presence, who could log a ton of minutes and who would provide a ton of leadership. The search was done quickly as the club approached an Eastern team about a player the Coyotes showed interest in early spring at the deadline but were unable to manage cap space or the time to make it work. The Coyotes acquired Zdeno Chara from the Bruins in return for Niklas Kronwall and a 5th round pick.

Once the trade was announced Larouche could not be happier at landing the CMHL Giant. "How can you not be happy? This guy can do it all, play a ton of minutes and does not matter if it's five on five, killing penalties or playing on the power-play. Chara will give us an additional weapon on the back end with Yandle, Subban and Commodore. Overall Kronwall was a great player for us however we feel we get more of what we lacked in Big Z!" Larouche stated. The other big move that was made prior to landing Big Z was the trade involving Vincent Lecavalier and prospect David Musil for Matt Read who figures to get top six minutes along with a lot of penalty kill time along with Spencer Machachek and TB's 1st in 2012 (Nicolas Kerdiles). A trade that allowed the flexibility to acquire Chara.

The next step for the Phoenix Franchise was the draft. The Coyotes under Larouche or even the previous club he managed were never draftees more trade-es. However this season the club changed that with four first rounds picks going into the draft and to make things even more interesting the club acquired a fifth first round pick by making a deal with the Hawks in dealing the 18th pick for the Coyotes 2013 first round pick.

At the draft the club selected at number 7 Matt Dumba, at number 10 Zemgus Girgensons, at 18 the club select PK Subban's little brother Malcom Subban, at 29 the team picked Mark Jankowski and at 30 the team selected Nicolas Kerdiles. Finally with one pick in the 2nd round the club selected Michael Matheson. To most this will be viewed as an ok draft but for a gm who is truly green at drafting it will be viewed as his best. We will visit the future of these players at a later date in details.

The next step for the club was to deal with their RFA's and UFA's. The club set their sight on resigning, Patrick Sharp as a loyalty FA. The club and Sharp came to an agreement that will see their top scorer play in Phoenix for 4 yrs at 4.9 million. The next order of business was getting a pair of defensemen signed who played big parts in shutting down top lines on the 3rd line pairing in Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jason Demers. Nik signed for 3 yrs at 2.25 million while Jason opted for 2 yrs at 1 million. The club also exercised their right on Spencer Machacek who signed for 4 yrs at 835 k.

On the other end of the spectrum the Coyotes decided to not make qualifying offers to Derick Brassard, Ben Eager, Jakub Kindl and Cameron Gaunce who all became UFA's. The other surprises were the Coyotes electing to purchase the contract of Paul Stastny who was reacquired by the club. At 4.8 million the club felt he was too pricey for what he offered. Rumor as it he could still return if the club wants to give him an offer, he did say he grew attached to the club and still holds the rookie points title with 56 points. The club also let back up Labarbera move on after several years as the clubs back up.

The biggest disappointment comes from the clubs inability to come to terms with their young farm star Kyle Turris. Reports indicated that both parties could not come to an agreement and it was determined that the club would need to explore moving the young forward. However true to his work Larouche did not rush into moving the young blue chipper as he finally found a suitor in Tampa Bay where the club acquired him in return for a much needed scorer in Blake Comeau.

Comeau did not waste anytime in putting ink to paper with his new club going for a 2 yr deal at 3 million per season. "I was pretty stoked on moving here, yes I won a cup in Tampa and very blessed with that opportunity, I must thank Dave for the chance he gave me, however things were not meant to be and like Kyle needed a fresh start and from the get go, Larouche showed great interest. The club did miss the playoffs for the first time, however will looked to help this club right the ship and go in the right direction." stated Comeau from his new found home in Phoenix.

With all the moves completed the club looks like this heading into the UFA period where the club will hope to bring home a second line winger or center, a third line left winger and fourth line left winger as well as a back up goalie to spell Quick for some games and a starting goalie for their farm club. Based on the numbers the Coyotes have roughly 11 million in cap space to make these moves possible.

1st line - Pacioretty - Sharp - Comeau

2nd line - TBD - TBD - Read

3rd line - TBD - Steckel - Adams

4th line - TBD - Mackenzie - Burish

1st line - Chara - Subban

2nd line - Yandle - Commodore

3rd line - Hjalmarsson - Demers

Starter - Quick

Back up - TBD

The second line will feature Jussi Jokinen as well, however the staff as yet to determine if he will stay at left wing or return to centre where he wants dominated the game in the face-off circle and in the shootout.

Things a certain, Larouche as made it clear that this team will not miss the playoffs for a second year in a row even if many of the clubs ahead of them also improved, it just means the club must play better and be more accountable and it starts with the Team and players naming a new captain and team associates. The captain will now be Zdeno Chara flanked by Patrick Sharp and Craig Adams.

For the Phoenix Nobodies this is Phil McKrackin

 

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