While the Arizona Coyotes new owner Alex Meruelo has made it clear that he’s committed to keeping the Coyotes in Arizona, he also didn’t go as far as to say that he wants to keep the team in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes have struggled financially at Gila River Arena and Merulo may be interested in moving the team elsewhere, calling Glendale, “a difficult situation.”
The owner made it clear that there are several reasons why Glendale may not be an ideal location in Arizona, including the team keeps losing money, most fans don’t live in Glendale, sponsorship there has been difficult and the team does not have a long-term lease there. However, AZ Central’s Jen Fifield reports that the leaders of the city of Glendale hope to have a meeting with Meruelo “to see how we can help him achieve his goals of success.”
However, Meruelo has made it clear for quite a while that he’s looking to find a new arena in Arizona. The team is currently on a year-to-year arena lease and the owner has made it clear that Glendale “is not viable long-term.”
- Many eyes went wise earlier this summer, when highly talented restricted free agent Kevin Labanc signed just a one-year, $1MM deal when he could have gotten quite a bit more. NHL.com’s Adam Kimmelman reports that Labanc admits that he put the team first when he signed that deal. “I didn’t want to wait,” he said following a Checking For Charity game at Flyers Skate Zone on Friday. “I wanted to sign the contract, get myself ready for the upcoming year and have nothing hanging over my shoulder.” Labanc, who will be a restricted agent once again next summer, could be in line for an even bigger payday as his role on the ice with the Sharks is likely to increase with the losses of Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist during the offseason. Labanc put together a solid year last season, posting career highs in goals (17) and points (56) and saw his ATOI improve as the season went on, averaging 15:26 in April despite averaging just 13:34 before the all-star break.
- With a recent bias over the last few years in the NHL over the importance of height in goaltenders, The Athletic’s Darren Haynes (subscription required) writes that the Calgary Flames seem to be heading towards an anti-establishment policy towards them. In fact, most of Calgary’s goalie draft picks in recent years have been towards smaller goaltenders, including Tyler Parsons, who at 6-foot-1, is not considered to be ranked at the 15th percentile in height. In comparison, he would have been considered in the 89th percentile in 1984-85. The Flames seem to be opting to go against those trends as the team is also loaded with shorter goaltenders, including 2019 seventh-rounder Dustin Wolf at 5-foot-11 and Nick Schneider, who is one of their tallest prospects at 6-foot-2.