Apr 13, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek (4) waves to fans as the team leaves the ice after beating the Dallas Stars 2-1 at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Coyotes have 'flexibility' for UFA period

General Manager Don Maloney of the Arizona Coyotes knows he can’t trump a lot of big offers to free agents. After all, the Coyotes have been property of the NHL for four years now and are run on a tight budget. Just don’t expect Maloney to complain or to sit back while everyone else gets better.

“There’s some flexibility right now,” Maloney told Sarah McLellan at AZ Central Sports when asked about his plans for free agency. “There are other things we’re doing that might create more flexibility, but right now there’s some flexibility.”

McLellan notes, “the Coyotes already have $51.4 million on the books for next season, Maloney doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room to operate, but that isn’t an excuse he’s willing to acknowledge.”

Clearly.

Thanks to the NHL continuing the policy it introduced a year ago of allowing teams a week to court free agents leading up to the spending period that starts on July 1, Maloney is better equipped to make a pitch to players who can make the Coyotes better.

“You will get a sense of what the players’ expectations are in a general sense,” Maloney said of the process. “Then you’ll kind of see if it’s worth continuing talking.”

The Coyotes may not have an organization rich in tradition, but they do offer sunny weather and a quiet, peaceful place for a professional athlete to live and raise a family. These factors may not sell to everyone, but there are plenty of veterans who would be happy for such a thing. A team like the Coyotes won’t be trying to sign too many different guys so Maloney can focus on a few, make his pitch, and see how things play out come July.

It may not be an ideal situation for an NHL GM, but it’s one that Maloney has shown can make a team a consistent presence in the playoffs, as the Coyotes made the playoffs three straight years from 2009-2012 under current management. If they’re going to return to such success, it will likely be because of some managerial wins this summer.

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Tags: Arizona Coyotes

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