The Arizona Coyotes have agreed to terms with one of their 2019 free agents, but it doesn’t look like that will happen with any of those scheduled to hit the market this summer. Craig Morgan of AZ Sports reports that all four of Brad Richardson, Luke Schenn, Kevin Connauton and Zac Rinaldo are likely to go unsigned before July 1st and become unrestricted free agents.
Richardson’s fate was likely sealed when the Coyotes traded for Marcus Kruger recently, while Connauton has been clear that he’s hoping for a bigger role—one that might have to come on another team. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Coyotes go after some bigger names this offseason in either free agency or trade, hoping to support their young players and get back to the playoffs in 2018-19. That said, all four of the above names could find jobs around the league as they still represent useful depth options.
Schenn, a former fifth-overall pick, has already played 708 games in the NHL and won’t turn 29 until after the 2018-19 season starts. Though he never did become the shutdown first-pairing defender that Toronto thought they were picking, he’s not the worst option for a third-pairing right-handed defenseman that play a physical game and help on the penalty kill.
Connauton too brings some upside on defense, after recording 21 points in 73 games while seeing the ice just over 15 minutes a night. His 11 goals all came at even-strength, and he could have some even better numbers if given an opportunity. That’s what he’ll look for, but it’s not clear who will be willing to give him a full-time role right away.