Obviously, the biggest off-season questions for the Phoenix Coyotes center around “who will be their owner?” and “where will they play this year and beyond?”
Still, if coach Dave Tippett and the scrappy bunch showed us anything, it’s that the ownership issues aren’t the only story when it comes to this team. It’s difficult (dare I say, reckless?) to guess what the team’s budget will be without knowing if they’re future is truly resolved. So, instead, I’ll take a look at some of the Coyotes’ biggest decisions. Here’s a breakdown of their salary cap commitments going into 2010-11..
Phoenix Coyotes 2010-11 Cap Commitments (Based on numbers from CapGeek.com)
Forwards (8 of 12): Doan ($4.55 million), Vrbata (3), Prucha (1.2), Tikhonov (1.18), Fiddler (1.1), Nokelainen (950K), Korpikoski (700k), Bissonnette (613K)
Only Doan and Bissonnette have contracts going through 2011-12. None past 2012-13.
Defense (4 of 6): Jovanovski (6.5), Vandermeer (2.3), Sauer (1.75), Yandle (1.2)
Only Sauer through 2011-12
Goalies (2 of 2): Bryzgalov (4.25), Labarbera (1)
Both only through 2010-11
Current Cap Commitments: $30.99 million
Cap space if it remains the same next year: $26.11 million
Only a little less than $7 million committed to 2011-12
Most noteworthy free agents: Stempniak, Wolski, Morris, Schneider, Aucoin, Z. Michalek
Most relevant prospects: Turris (2.7), Boedker (1.73)
Some further discussion after the jump
There are plenty of big on-ice decisions for the Coyotes. Let’s take a look at the roster by breaking it down by categories.
Young/in their prime guys for 10-11
Two big trade acquisitions are free agents: Wolski and Stempniak. Zbynek MIchalek is another “younger” player who could be an important re-sign..
Veterans for 10-11
Mathieu Schneider might retire. Adrian Aucoin and Derek Morris are two other older defensemen the team needs to make a choice with.
Crucial guys to re-sign in 11-12
Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract ends after next season. Considering how important he’s been to the team, they may want to wrap him up early. Keith Yandle’s $1.2 million cap hit is an absolute steal right now, but he won’t be super-cheap much longer. On the flip side, the Coyotes are looking at resounding (but scary) cap space in 2011-12. At this moment in time, they have a bit under $7 million committed to the cap that season. That’s less than Brian Campbell’s contract alone.
So, should Phoenix keep the likes of Wolski and Stempniak? Can they land some big-name players if the team gains stability? Let’s hope the team isn’t just a flash in the pan, because they were awfully entertaining this year.