It may still be June but the Coyotes are not waiting until the last minute to prepare for the upcoming season. With General Manager Maloney in a difficult position to bring in big name UFAs with high contracts he has focused on retaining the players he can and talk to other GMs about possible trades.
Within the last few weeks the Coyotes have announced the resigning of top 4 Defenseman Adrian Aucoin, and forwards Taylor Pyatt and Scottie Upshall. They also announced the trading of Daniel Winnik to Colorado and placed Nokelainen and Vandermeer on waivers.
Aucoin is one of the veteran players on the team who provides valuable leadership. The two year extention he signed may take him through the end of his career.
Scottie Upshall was one of the biggest keys to the Coyotes early season success. And he looks to pick up where he left off before he was injured for the last half of last season. Another good year could earn him a big pay day.
Taylor Pyatt is no longer playing with the Sedin twins. He has settled into his role on the team as a 4th line winger expected to play physically and go to the front of the net.
Daniel Winink's days in Phoenix are over and I am sad to see him go. With the signing of Pyatt there was a shortage of spots available in the bottom two lines and as the player many see with the most limited upside and offensive impact he was sent packing to Colorado for a 4th round pick in 2012. His guts and work in the corners will be missed.
Petteri Nokelainen was picked up at the trade line as a temporary filler at the center position. With a year left on his contact and no place for him the team has placed him on waivers. With the departure of Winnik and Nokelainen the battle for spots has opened up for younger players like Turris, MacLean, Boedker and Tikhonov.
Jim Vandermeer was a solid 6th defenseman last year. The only problem was that his salary was not that of a 6th defenseman. With the development of our young defenseman it didn't make sense to pay a player that much when the team could make way for a younger player who would be payed a quarter of the salary.
While Maloney has recently sad that he is not completely optimistic about resigning Michalek, Lombardi and Stempniak he has made it clear that that doesn't mean he would hesitate from making any moves or trades needed to improve the team. In any case the Coyotes are shifting into full gear as they regroup for the upcoming season