LAKE PLACID — One constant through the Phoenix Coyotes troubled times of late has been GM Don Maloney.
His abilities to get the most out of a team shackled by the financial strain of not having an owner have been well noted in the past. Now that that’s all in the rear-view mirror, he’s ready to move the franchise forward.
When it comes to finally not having the NHL as his boss, he’s happy to have some worries put to rest.
“I don’t want to say the job’s easier, but a lot of uncertainties have been limited,” Maloney said while taking in the World Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY.
“We feel as much relief as anything else in the sense that we’ve just eliminated those questions. When you feel like you’re a ward of the state, which basically we were, it’s nice to know people don’t have to talk about this anymore and we can just talk about the job we do on the ice.”
Forward competition in training camp could be open to seeing a youthful takeover, but Maloney is hoping to add another big offensive weapon to coach Dave Tippett’s arsenal.
“I think if we find one more offensive player, scorer it would certainly help. I like our defense, I like our goaltending depth. Even our organization, I just think up front we need more skill,” he said.
“We still have three forward positions available for either finding someone in a trade, signing a free agent, or somebody like a Max Domi or a Henrik Samuelsson comes to camp and wins a job. We have very good flexibility right now, but If we can find another bonafide top two NHL player that’d be our preference.”
One way to do that could be to move a defenseman.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson isn’t going anywhere as he’s their young superstar-in-wait, but the blue line depth the team has is impressive. Youngsters like David Rundblad, Brandon Gormley, and Connor Murphy are waiting for their shot to crack the NHL full-time which means guys like Keith Yandle and Derek Morris will pop up in trade rumors, Yandle especially.
It’s a situation that bears watching especially if Phoenix struggles offensively, but don’t expect the Coyotes to just add payroll if it comes right down to it.
“We’re still going to work within a budget that will keep us within a realistic bottom-third of the league [in payroll] and that’s fine,” Maloney says. “I think money gives you a little more flexibility so that you can get away with more mistakes, quite frankly.”
Thankfully for Maloney and the fans in Arizona, mistakes have been minimal