Thursday, January 19, 2006

One Step Ahead of the Game?

****FRIDAY UPDATE: The Coyotes sent Petr Nedved to the Flyers today for Dennis Seidenberg - The 'Yotes are now down to three of those "Top-Caliber" players from the summer of '04.

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A Little Archair Quarterbacking on a Thursday
I was looking over the game night program I brought home from the Hurricanes/Coyotes game in December and came across an interesting article titled, "One Step Ahead of the Game." Not sure this feature is still in the publication, but it serves as evidence of how public relations can get ahead of reality. The article trumpets the Coyotes pre-lockout signing of free agents in 2004 in a superb display of hyperbole:

"...while most teams hesitated to sign players in the face of hockey's still
unknown brave new world, the Coyotes took advantage of the trepidation of
others clubs by signing five top-caliber players..."

So, who were these top-caliber players?

  • Boyd Devereaux (11 points and -2)
  • Sean O'Donnell (a respectable +7)
  • Mike Ricci (4th line checking center sits at a -10, contributing only 7 points to date)
  • Petr Nedved ( 2 goals, 11 assists, -11)
  • Brett Hull (1 assist, -3 in 5 games before he figured out he was no longer a top-caliber player)

As of today, the Coyotes sit in 11th place in the West, seven points out of the #8 position, and last in the Pacific.

The Coyotes have over $6 million tied up with in four of these five players. Hull signed to a two-year, $4.5 mil deal before he retired, so I don't know if they still owe him any money or if any portion of his salary remains in the equation. The club has hit a brick wall in trying to move Nedved and his $2.2 mil salary. The biggest pulls on Phoenix's salary structure (the + $2 mil guys) come from the salaries of Doan, Morris, Sanderson, Nedved, and Scatchard. I doubt the 'Yotes would look to move their captain, so just who has real market value among those remaining? Come the trade deadline, there might be some interest in Morris and Sanderson, but Phoenix will probably have to eat some salary to make these guys attractive.

GM Barnett and The Great One might have been bold in the summer of '04, but it looks like a little "trepidation" might have served them better.

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