Looking at the Coyotes' on-ice future

coyotes3.jpgObviously, 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.

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    Update: Evgeni Malkin is still a bad man

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    Sometimes an angry Evgeni Malkin means a stray power play or two for his opponents, but it’s usually not the best idea to make him angry.

    Giving a player that big and talented extra motivation just seems like a bad idea, right?

    Joel Ward experienced that phenomenon on Tuesday, as Malkin responded to a blow from Ward with the goal you can see above.

    This continues a red-hot streak for Malkin. Tonight’s goal and assist (and counting?) stretches his scoring streak to four games, each with at least one goal.

    Malkin came into Tuesday with 10 points in his last six games as well, so … yeah, no. 71 is feeling it right now.

    Of course: Ryan Suter wins it for Wild vs. ‘Hawks after those wild quotes

    NBCSN screen

    You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”

    Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.

    Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.

    Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?

    As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).

    Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.

    Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.

    It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.

    Hey look: Flyers reel off three straight wins for first time in 2015-16

    Sean Couturier
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    When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.

    Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.

    The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.

    Joy abounded.

    Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.

    Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.

    If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.

    This own-goal captures the start of Dougie Hamilton’s Flames career

    Dougie Hamilton
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    Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

    (It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)

    You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …

    … Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.

    Update: Did Hamilton picture all the negative headlines and harness that energy for a greater good? He scored the game-tying goal as Calgary upset Dallas 4-3 via a shootout.