Phoenix Coyotes: 5 Free Agent Additions the Coyotes Should Make This Offseason

Michael JenkinsContributor IIIJune 27, 2012

Phoenix Coyotes: 5 Free Agent Additions the Coyotes Should Make This Offseason

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    The Phoenix Coyotes are coming off of their most successful season in franchise history. They reached the Western Conference Finals and fell short, losing to the Los Angeles Kings in five games.

    The Coyotes have some major decisions to make as they enter the offseason. They need to figure out who to bring in to bolster key spots throughout the lineup.

    General Manager Don Maloney technically has a lot of money to work with ($35.4 million under the cap), but with a new ownership group set to take over, Maloney might not have that much to spend. According to the Arizona Republic, Maloney might only have around $9 million to spend on free agents.

    This eliminates many of the top free agents from this list. I think every team would like to have a Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils), Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators) or a Alexander Semin (Washington Capitals). These guys would break the bank though and that is why these types of players are not on this list.

    This column will explore the top five unrestricted free agents that I think the Coyotes need to pursue.  These five make sense financially and are inside the team concept that head coach Dave Tippett has worked so hard to build over the last couple of seasons. I am looking for a point scoring, defensively cognizant, hard-working and relatively inexpensive group of players. Many of these guys are under the radar, but I think that they would be great fits.

PA Parenteau: Playmaker

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    1. P A Parenteau- Right Wing- 29 yrs. old- 6'0", 198 lbs.-New York Islanders- $1.25 million

    Parenteau has scored 50-plus points each season for the past two seasons. He finished with 67 points this year, (18G-49A) which would have ranked him 2nd on the Coyotes (4th in goals, 2nd in assists).

    The Coyotes only really have two true right wings on their roster in Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata and Doan is a free agent.

    Parenteau had 19 points on the power play, which would have ranked him 2nd overall on the Coyotes last season. He was minus-eight overall and had 80-plus penalty minutes which Tippett wouldn't like, but Doan was a minus-eight last season and he had a solid overall season. If he scored 60-plus points for the Coyotes, I think they would overlook his plus-minus rating if it were similar to his number from this year.

    If the Coyotes can sign him for $3-4 million, he would be a solid addition and bring some much needed offense to the Desert Dogs.

Jiri Hudler: Goal Poacher

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    2. Jiri Hudler- Left Wing- 28 yrs. old- 5'9, 178 lbs.- Detroit Red Wings- $3 million

    The shifty Czech winger is a skilled puck-handler, can find the net and is tough to knock off of the puck because of his low center of gravity.

    He scored 50 points (25G-25A) for the Wings last season and could slot into a 2nd or 3rd line and give it some added scoring punch. He was a plus-10 last season and did score 10 points on the power play, although he didn't see much time on the vaunted Red Wings power play.

    A salary close to what he made this year would be acceptable (up to $3.5 million) and he would fit right in with the Coyotes tough, gritty style of play.

Chris Kelly: All-Around Player

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    3. Chris Kelly- Center- 31 yrs. old- 6'0, 198 lbs.- Boston Bruins- $2 million

    Kelly is a grizzled veteran and solid two-way player.

    Kelly would add leadership and be a consistent point producer to this lineup. Kelly scored 39 points last year (20G-19A), played in every conceivable situation and finished with an amazing plus-33 for the season.

    He has Dave Tippett's type-of-player written all over him.

    If the Coyotes can give him a raise ($3 million range) and lure him from the Boston Bruins, they would not regret it.

    Adding another character guy to the locker room to help out Doan and the other vets would be welcome heading into next season.

Jason Garrison: Two-Way Defenseman

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    4. Jason Garrison- Defenseman- 27 yrs. old- 6'2", 220 lbs.- Florida Panthers- $700,000

    Garrison is a very underrated defenseman.

    He is an all-around, experienced player who would be a bargain in this market. He scored 33 points (16G-17A) last year including nine goals on the power play with his hard, heavy shot from the point. He also finished with a plus-six rating, showing that he is defensively responsible.

    If the Coyotes can get him for between $1.5-2.5 million, that would be a great signing and help to bolster the defense corp that will potentially be missing Michal Rozsival and Adrian Aucoin (Unrestricted Free Agents).

Joey Crabb: Gritty, Physical Forward

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    5. Joey Crabb- Right Wing- 29 yrs. old- 6'1", 190 lbs.- Toronto Maple Leafs- $750,000

    Crabb is a rough and tumble player who had modest stats last season, but played many roles for the Maple Leafs.

    He had a respectable 101 hits and scored 26 points (11G-15A). He was a consistent grinder on the 3rd and 4th lines and he also played a very important role on the penalty kill for the Leafs. He seemed to have a knack for scoring big goals (4 Game Winning Goals) and if the Coyotes were to sign him, he could slot into the role that Gilbert Brule or Marc-Antoine Pouliot played this past season.

    The Coyotes should offer him around $1 million and use him in a variety of ways to help the team reach that next level.

    If the Coyotes can round up some of these guys in the FA market, it would go a long way towards making that next step forward for a franchise that had unbelievable success this season.

    The 'Yotes need to continue to build on last season and not regress. The way to do that these days is by making shrewd moves with free agents.