As reports tend to go, this one seems to be as close to a sure thing as we’ve seen this summer. It appears that free agent winger Lee Stempniak is going to rre-sign with the Phoenix Coyotes for two years. While no actual details are readily available until the contract is officially announced by the Coyotes later today, it appears the deal will be worth $1.75 million per season.
The Coyotes are hoping that the Lee Stempniak they saw in the regular season after acquiring him from the Toronto Maple Leafs is more like the player they’ll see game in and game out rather than the disappointment he was in the playoffs. During the regular season with Phoenix, Stempniak potted 14 goals in 18 games and finished the regular season with 18 points for the desert dogs. For the full season, Stempniak had 28 goals and 20 assists. Yes, Stempniak had as many goals in 18 games with Phoenix as he had in 62 with the Maple Leafs. Yes, Maple Leafs fans are a bit chapped about this.
In the playoffs, however, Stempniak was virtually invisible adding only two assists in seven games as the Coyotes lost to the Red Wings in the first round. With such a seemingly nice deal for Phoenix, they’re hedging their bets on whether or not Stempniak can be the over-the-top scorer he was for them rather than the inconsistent player he was with Toronto. The cap hit of $1.75 million over the two years is a pay cut for Stempniak as he had a cap hit of $2.5 million the last three years with the deal he signed with Toronto. Whether he can stay consistent or not will help determine if the Coyotes can make up for the loss of Matt Lombardi to free agency.
Official update: Here’s the release from the Coyotes on the re-signing.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos tweets the real contract details.
Lee Stempniak new 2 year deal with PHO breaks down like this. 2010-11- $1.5M. 2011-12 – $2.3M. Cap hit of 1.9M
That’s a bit juicier than what was first reported.