Taylor Pyatt finds place with Phoenix Coyotes after tragedy

taylorpyatt.jpgThe Phoenix Coyotes just announced that they re-signed rugged forward Taylor Pyatt to a two-year contract. The exact terms of the deal are not yet clear.

Pyatt, 28, recorded 12-11-23 with 39 penalty minutes (PIM) and a career-high +13 rating in 74 games with the Coyotes last season, his first with the team. He also collected 1-1-2 while playing in all seven of the Coyotes’ postseason games last year.

The hard-hitting winger dealt with a rocky year-plus, moving to Phoenix after years as a member of the Vancouver Canucks and – most tragically – struggling with the death of his fiance and high school sweetheart.

On April 2, 2009, Pyatt, then a forward with the Vancouver Canucks, received a horrific middle-of-the-night call from the brother of his fiancee, Carly Bragnalo. There was a car accident, he was told, in Jamaica where she was vacationing with family. She didn’t survive the injuries.

How do you move on? She had been in his life for 11 years, a high school sweetheart who had shared the crazy ride of his hockey career.

He left the game for three weeks, unable to justify putting hockey ahead of his mourning. He rejoined the Canucks midway through the playoffs but in the summer, when he had become an unrestricted free agent and no longer had the distraction of daily hockey, his clarity told him he needed a new environment.

“I was looking for a change of scenery and to turn the page as far as my career goes,” he said Monday.

It’s great to hear that Pyatt is sticking with Phoenix. One can only imagine that the 28-year-old forward could use some stability after a chaotic year-plus.

For at least one Coyote, the team’s ownership troubles seemed pretty timid. Best of luck to Pyatt as he moves on with his life with a little bit of security.

Scroll Down For:

    Panthers officially add Chris Pronger to front office

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Earlier this month, it was reported that the Florida Panthers were talking to Chris Pronger about joining their front office.

    Exactly three weeks later, the Panthers confirmed the move during a conference call with GM Dale Tallon.

    Dan Murphy of Sportsnet is reporting that Pronger’s official title will be “senior adviser to the president of hockey operations”. So basically, he’ll be working closely with Tallon.

    Pronger has been with the NHL’s Department of Players Safety since the start of the 2014 season.

    “Chris has spent the last three years working for the League’s Department of Player Safety and is ready to move into a more competitive, executive role,” Tallon said in a release. “One of the most dominant defensemen of his era, Chris’ winning resume and wealth of hockey knowledge will be a great asset to our hockey club. We’re thrilled that he has chosen to join the Panthers organization.”

    The 42-year-old is now free to join a team because his last player contract has (finally) expired, and he’s no longer on anyone’s payroll.

    This move is hardly surprising considering Pronger has already mentioned on numerous occasions that he’d like to be a general manager one day.

    Plenty of trade chatter now that freeze is over

    1 Comment

    The NHL trade freeze officially ended at 8:00 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, but we haven’t officially seen any moves. Still, expect some transactions to go down in the very near future.

    According to TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie, there are a few specific names that might find themselves in new cities sooner than later.

    Per McKenzie, the Carolina Hurricanes are very interested in new Golden Knights defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who they acquired from Chicago during the expansion draft.

    The former Blackhawk is 25 years old, and he had 16 points and 29 penalty minutes in 58 games during the 2016-17 season.

    McKenzie also mentioned the strong possibility of the Oilers dealing Jordan Eberle at some point, but he also added that a deal isn’t necessarily close. A trade could occur on Friday.

    Eberle had 20 goals and 51 points in 82 games, but he was nowhere to be seen during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as he had two assists and a minus-6 rating in 13 games.

    The fact that Eberle comes with a cap hit of $6 million doesn’t help his odds of sticking around in Edmonton. After all, they’ll need all the cap space they can get for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl‘s extensions.

    For over a week now, the Minnesota Wild have been at the front of the line when it comes to trade rumors. The Wild have bodies they can move on the blue line, as they were able to keep Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin away from Vegas.

    Now, it sounds like Scandella may be the player most likely to move in the next little while.

    Going back to McKenzie’s Twitter timeline, he suggests that Brodin is the player they least want to part ways with, while Scandella is the one most likely to be dealt.

    The Arizona Coyotes have already made some noise this week. They traded for Nick Cousins, moved Mike Smith to Calgary and parted ways with Shane Doan. But TSN’s Darren Dreger believes there will be more movement in the desert.

    Now all we need is for two teams (or more) to pull the trigger!

    PHT Morning Skate: Expansion draft winners and losers

    Getty
    3 Comments

    –As you’ve probably heard, the Vegas Golden Knights put their roster together last night. The Score looks at three takeaways from their initial roster. Landing Nikita Gusev from Tampa Bay was a nice acquisition for GM George McPhee. (The Score)

    –Sportsnet’s Luke Fox put together his observations of last night’s NHL Awards ceremony. Mike Babcock just can’t buy a Jack Adams Award, Connor McDavid left with a lot of hardware and actor Jacob Tremblay took a little shot at the Canucks. (Sportsnet)

    –Sean McIndoe looks at the five best goalies that have ever been exposed in an expansion draft (prior to last night). People forget, but the Sabres left Dominik Hasek unprotected in the early 90s, but the Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers opted not to select him. (The Hockey News)

    –Former hockey player Denna Laing suffered a devastating injury on the ice that left her paralyzed. Yesterday, she had the honor of presenting an award and getting a standing ovation. (NBC Sports)

    –Some teams took a major hit in the Vegas expansion draft, while other teams made out just fine. The Washington Post breaks down the winners and losers of last night’s expansion draft. It was a pretty tough night for the Panthers and Islanders. (Washington Post)

    –Sportsnet did a great feature on top draft prospect Nolan Patrick. Here’s a look at how Patrick became the player he is today:

    Vegas has 15 d-men, but won’t keep them all

    4 Comments

    The Vegas Golden Knights suddenly have 15 defensemen.

    Just don’t expect all 15 to remain Knights for long.

    “We’re going to have to move some defensemen,” general manager George McPhee said Tuesday, “because we’re going to claim a bunch.”

    So, who might get flipped?

    Well, a highly touted youngster like Shea Theodore, acquired in a trade with Anaheim, is unlikely to go. Theodore, 21, could be a core member of the Knights for years to come.

    Deryk Engelland probably won’t be going anywhere either. He just signed a one-year contract with the Knights, and he already has ties to Sin City.

    But a 32-year-old like Marc Methot? He could be dealt. The Dallas Stars are reportedly quite interested.

    A few others could be on the move, too, but we’ll have to wait to find out which ones.

    Here’s the full list of d-men that officially became Vegas property today:

    Jake Bischoff
    Deryk Engelland
    Alexei Emelin
    Jason Garrison
    Brayden McNabb
    Jon Merrill
    Marc Methot
    Colin Miller
    Luca Sbisa
    David Schlemko
    Griffin Reinhart
    Nate Schmidt
    Clayton Stoner
    Shea Theodore
    Trevor van Riemsdyk