The first round of the NHL playoffs got under way, and as is tradition, that means looking into the Coyotes offseason plans.
The tradition was almost put to bed this spring, but the Coyotes fell just short of the playoffs. It was a good season, better than expected, and it's hard to be mad about a team that so gloriously exceeded expectations.
The Coyotes don't have much in the way of unrestricted free-agents on their roster. They have Mario Kempe, who is a bit player, and they may re-sign him, since he's cheap and not terrible. He had nine points in 52 games, so either way, no one is gonna waste to much time thinking about it.
Panik is a UFA, and while Craig Morgan says he won't be back, I think if you can avoid giving him much of a raise, he should be. Panik is a useful defensive player who can score a little. He's pretty underrated.
Calvin Pickard is a UFA, who cares?
Finally David Bolland is a UFA, which means his contract comes off the books. Obviously, he will not be re-signed.
in the RFA catagory,
we have the following players: Josh Archibald, Nick Cousins, Illya Lyubushkin, and Lawson Crouse.
All are bit players, with the exception of Cousins who the coach plays (or was forced to play) way too much.
Most of them will be back, but I guess it depends on who the Coyotes add from the minors (You'd hope that Connor Garland and Barrett Hayton both make the team next year), free agency and trade.
Ideally you'd like to significantly upgrade on the fact that you're giving so many minutes to Archibald, Crouse, and Cousins.
The Coyotes need offense, and none of those guys is every going to provide it.
Stepan, Hinostroza, Grabner, Keller, Galchenyuk, Dvorak and then Garland and Hayton are eight of the 12 forwards you need. Of the remaining four, you figure they have to add at least one high-end forward, and one decent goal scorere, leaving two spaces.
Richardson, Cousins, Panik, Crouse, Archibald and Panik are all decent enough players. One reason the Coyotes did so well this year is that they're good at identifying value adds for the bottom of the lineup.
So while any of these guys could play on my team any day, you probably don't want to be playing all six.