Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Vest of ArizonaCoyotes.com,
Dylan Strome came closer than experts expected to making the NHL as an 18-year-old center.
But when it came down to crafting the 23-man roster for the 2015-16 season, Coyotes management decided the No. 3 pick in this year’s NHL Draft would be better served maturing via another season of junior hockey and, presumably, competing in the prestigious IIHF World Junior Championship in December/January.
"Dylan had a terrific training camp," General Manager Don Maloney told me. "However, he is still a very young man who will be able to mature away from the NHL spotlight. He has all the ingredients we like in a player – intelligent, competitive and skilled. He simply needs more time to work on his strength and quickness. He will be an important player for us in the future."
Strome played extremely well in rookie camp and then well enough to stay in camp with the veterans up until the last day. But Tippett said Strome leveled off during the last few preseason games in which he played, and on Friday vs. San Jose, against a nearly complete NHL lineup, it became clear he wasn’t quite ready to make the jump.
from Michael Traikos at the Toronto Sun,
(Dylan) Strome, who had led the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 129 points, was tall and talented. But he also was a kid who lacked strength and whose skating was an issue. He needed time to bulk up, grow up and mature. Spending another year in junior was not just expected — it was considered essential.
“In all candor, I did not think he would be making so hard a push for the opening night roster,” Maloney said in a phone interview. “I just thought he would be here for a short stint and be back to Erie.”
That short stint is looking more like it could turn into a permanent roster spot....
Not only were Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Buffalo’s Jack Eichel expected to not only make their respective teams, but from Carolina’s Noah Hanifin (No. 5) and New Jersey’s Pavel Zacha (No. 6) to Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen (No. 10) and Florida’s Lawson Crouse (No. 11), there could be as many as eight players who jump straight to the NHL.
Even New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal, the No. 16 selection, is still hanging around camp while Toronto’s Mitch Marner, the No. 4 selection, was sent back to junior.
“Right now we’re looking at the big picture,” Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello said. “Which means is if there’s a decision of do you bring him up too soon or too late, it’s always better to bring a player up too late.”
Added Panthers GM Dale Tallon: “You have to look at the situation. Sometimes you’re taking a step backwards by going back (to junior).”
from Sarah McLellen of azcentral sports,
“He can play all over the lineup, and I think that versatility makes him a very valuable player,” Tippett said.
Considering he’s had stints with the Penguins, Avalanche and Lightning, the cast of characters Downie has been around is impressive – Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Nathan MacKinnon. Downie has tried to absorb as much as he can from these stars and strike a balance between being an agitator and contributing offensively.
Last season, Downie led the league in penalty minutes with 238.
“There are some things there that we’ll have a good talk about before the start of the season, but he plays hard,” Tippett said. “Guys that play hard and stick up for teammates are going to get some penalties, but there’s some that are warranted and some that he can probably take out of his game.”
from Brendan Porter of Five For Howling,
So what do the Arizona Coyotes owe Doan for his loyalty? If they're smart, nothing.
That isn't to say the Coyotes shouldn't at least explore the possibility of making Doan a Coyote for the rest of his career. Though Shane Doan will be 39 next season, he is still a very competent player.
Shane Doan is a good third liner compared to the rest of the NHL. He is a great leader in the locker room. He should receive a contract worthy of both. But he should not be "made whole". He should not receive a contract based on what he may have received in the past.
more and Porter is comparing Doan to the signing of Dan Cleary...
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
What the team really needs: An elite center with size. First-round pick Dylan Strome, the brother of New York Islanders winger Ryan Strome, might be the guy. But he’s not quite ready for prime time. The expectation is that he will be returned to his OHL team this season.
Key question: What happens to the Coyotes after two seasons? The Coyotes want to stay in Glendale, but it’s unknown whether they can negotiate a long-term lease that would satisfy both sides. It’s possible the Coyotes could look at moving to Phoenix, or even out of state. The Coyotes want to negotiate a long-term deal immediately because they don’t want to go into next summer’s free agent signing period not knowing what their future is in Glendale.
Forecast: The Coyotes have an army of quality forward prospects in their system. But that will make them strong in 2018-19, not this season. Their improvement this season isn’t likely to get them into the playoffs.
from Josh Cooper of PuckDaddy,
We talked to Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc about the Coyotes. Their future in the desert – either in Glendale or maybe Phoenix – and how he sees the team moving forward, now that the lease stuff is behind them for at least two years.
Q: With all the issues you’ve had with the City of Glendale, can it indeed work there?
LeBlanc: It’s been a difficult summer. It was a tough summer. We’re through it. We’re past it.
I think we’ve come through this fine. There’s the mending of the relationship that needs to happen, but that began on the day of the vote a couple of weeks ago. I do think it works here, but look, it’s only a two-year deal. It would be foolish for us to not listen to expressions of interest of other potential spots in the Valley, but we do believe in Glendale. We always have. We think it’s a tremendous hockey arena. This is a great development. The Westgate development, most people don’t understand unless you’ve been here. It’s a little bit of a drive outside of Scottsdale or Phoenix, but it’s not to the level people think it is. I made a joke yesterday (at an event at Arizona State) that the arena is not on Pluto. It took me 20 minutes to drive from my office in the arena to Arizona State, which is on the other end of the Valley in Tempe. We’re in Glendale. It’s not that far.
People always talk about North Scottsdale and the wealth of North Scottsdale, there’s really no difference in the drive to Glendale vs. downtown Phoenix. It’s just a perception. I’ve said this all along that people look for excuses to not go when the team is not playing particularly well. I experienced this in Ottawa. My house was in downtown Ottawa. There were nights when that drive from downtown Ottawa to the Corel Centre, that drive felt like it took three hours on certain nights when the team wasn’t playing particularly well.
But it zipped by when I was going to playoff games.
Our issues, I really don’t think are geography. It affects us more when we have a season like last season. But when this team plays well, look at that four years ago when the team went to the Western Conference Final. You couldn’t get a seat in the building in the playoffs. Nobody had a problem driving out to Glendale. It’s fodder, it’s stuff people talk about and it is what it is.
via Justin Bourne tweets,
So, the last-in-Metro Hurricanes game plan to make it work next season is more or less "have the same players just like, do better," hey?
They should have about as many lottery balls as anyone next season, I'd guess. Probably AZ/BUF back in that mix too?
(Prepares for the [wrong] "actually I don't think Buffalo will be bad" responses.)
from David Satriano of NHL.com,
Here are four other reasons for optimism in Arizona:
Oliver Ekman-Larsson: The 25-year old established himself as one of the best defenseman in the NHL in the past two seasons. Ekman-Larsson had a career high 23 goals and 43 points, including 20 power-play points, and led NHL defensemen in goals and power-play goals (10) last season. He also scored in the clutch, with seven game-winning goals, including three in overtime.
"He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow," general manager Don Maloney said. "I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense. But people don't appreciate even his defending ability because he gets matched up against the best players on every team every night, and he is just growing in front of our eyes.
"I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver. It's really his intellect, his puck-moving ability and his skating that stand out. He's a cornerstone on our blue line. We need to get another one or two like him back there and then we will be a team to be reckoned with."
Prospects on the rise: The Coyotes may have been thin up front last season, but they're loaded with young talent ready to make the jump to the NHL. Led by 2013 first-round pick Max Domi and 19-year old Anthony Duclair, Arizona should be faster and more skilled.
"Obviously Max Domi is ahead of the pack in regards to we know he's mature, we know he's got a strong body, he has a skill set that we lack," Maloney said. "Anthony Duclair came [to development camp], this was his first time to the Valley and first time on ice in a Coyotes uniform and he just wowed us with the skill and the speed and the execution just in his puck game. We haven't seen that pure speed and talent."
Maloney said forward Nick Merkley (the 30th pick in the 2015 NHL Draft) was one of the most impressive players at development camp in July, and Christian Dvorak (the 58th pick in 2014) was the most ready to compete for an NHL roster spot among the players who have junior eligibility remaining.
from Sarah McLellan of azcentral,
The Coyotes still have a few items left on their wist list -- namely a puck-moving defenseman -- but General Manager Don Maloney doubts any more changes will hit the roster before it is set to debut at training camp in the fall.
"There are still a lot of players out there," Maloney said Thursday. "If anything, I can see maybe some tryouts coming our way. The good thing for us we still have roster flexibility. We have some payroll flexibility, but I'm just adamant not to shore up a roster with any more one-way contracts unless it's a very good deal."
After watching the talent brewing in the pipeline at the team's prospect development camp earlier this month, team brass is eager to see how many youngsters can legitimately contend for a job in the NHL. If the candidates become slim, the team isn't opposed to exploring outside options at that point.
But the possibility of prospects competing for roster spots is enticing; actually, despite also coveting another winger, Maloney said he'd probably rather add a mobile defenseman instead of a winger because of the exciting youth currently in the team's forward group.
Even so, the Coyotes are still keeping a pulse on the market.
"We're still talking, more kicking tires," Maloney said.
from Darrell Preston and James Nash of Bloomberg,
Hockey was probably always going to be a longshot in the desert. But nobody expected what’s playing out in sunny Glendale, where the city’s done the unthinkable to the Arizona Coyotes.
Tired of doling out $15 million a year in subsidies, the Phoenix suburb last week abruptly cut its payments to the National Hockey League franchise by more than half. The move, pretty much unheard of in professional sports, was the latest blow for the Coyotes, the league’s third-lowest in attendance last season, holder of the worst win-loss record in the western conference and the butt of jokes.
What Glendale did “is almost the exact opposite of what happens in these extortion situations,” said sports economist Victor Matheson of College of the Holy Cross. “Typically the team extorts more payments out of the taxpayers.”
The city canceled its stadium lease contract with the Coyotes in June, done with funneling so much to them as part of the deal even as it was cutting municipal services and raising the sales tax.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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