Even for a budget team, Coyotes’ salary structure is remarkable

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This is part of Arizona Coyotes day at PHT …

The big picture is a lot sunnier in Arizona than it’s been for a long, long time.

That said, just about any reasonable prognostication tabs 2016-17 as a year of “growing pains” for the promising group.

If you seek an easy way to crystallize that this is a work in progress, you could do worse than eyeballing this resounding screen shot from General Fanager: just look at the payouts for this group of forwards.

coyotesforwards

With Pavel Datsyuk’s dead money in mind, no Coyotes forward is slated to generate a $4 million cap hit next season.

Speaking of dead money, the Coyotes have been really creative when it comes to maneuvering up to the cap floor.

Even with Tobias Rieder‘s tricky situation, it’s unlikely that they’ll see those numbers climb too significantly.

With Datsyuk, Chris Pronger‘s LTIR spot ($4.94 million expiring after this season) and buyouts for Mike Ribeiro and Antoine Vermette, it’s a truly bizarre setup in Arizona.

Their highest-paid active player is Mike Smith and his troubling $5.67 million cap hit, which won’t expire for three more seasons. Even with plenty of hidden savings, it’s quite the strange mess.

With young players set to make the jump and gradually approaching a need to sign second deals, the Coyotes’ structure is likely to look more typical in due time.

For fans of the weird, take note of the 2016-17 Coyotes, then.

With the possible – but not certain – exception of the Las Vegas expansion team, we may not see anything like this again for quite some time.

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