Much has been made about the Arizona Coyotes situation off the ice, namely with their current and future arena plans. As NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly made clear in his recent availability, the NHL is rather optimistic about the future of the franchise. On the ice, things have been relatively quiet for Arizona, who are in the midst of a significant rebuild. This summer, some players went out and some came in, but the blockbuster Jakob Chychrun trade that seemed almost a given didn’t play out and outside of a few blue chip prospects coming in at the draft, the team didn’t exactly take any massive steps forward in their build.
Recently, PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan had a chance to sit down with Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong to discuss not just the big picture on the organization, but also some of the smaller news and notes as the team heads into training camp. The first bit of news came about Chychrun, who Armstrong expects to be present at the start of training camp. With all the rumors about a potential trade of the star defenseman enveloping player, team, and the entire league for that matter, it’s easy to understand why there might be a riff, however Armstrong made clear Chychrun is a “pro’s pro.” The other bit of concern would be the season-ending injury he suffered March 12th of last season against the Boston Bruins. But as Armstrong adds, the team has been in regular contact with Chychrun, keeping updated on his rehab. What happens with Chychrun, whether he remains with the Coyotes or not, and for how long, remains a mystery, but regardless, the 24-year-old carries another three years at $4.6MM on his current deal, one which includes a modified no-trade-clause in the final two.
Morgan and Armstrong also discussed young forward Barrett Hayton, who is one of the last remaining RFAs throughout the NHL. Armstrong said the negotiations continue with Hayton, but described them currently as a “staring contest.” Still, the GM praised his player and said he understands how the situation might be difficult for him, but making known that this is still business and the focus is on working with his representatives to get a deal done.
As for veteran winger Andrew Ladd, he still has not yet made a decision about his future, which includes the 2022-23 season. Ladd himself told Morgan that he’s still thinking on it, wanting to avoid any sort of emotional decision. That decision, though, could come as soon as next week, when Ladd will go through routine training camp physicals. The oft-injured veteran, who played through injuries last season too, could have his future decided for him then. Currently, Ladd carries a $5.5MM cap hit, however only $4MM is salary, $3MM of which has already been paid via signing bonus. Should Ladd retire prior to the start of this season, or should he play any games, Arizona would lose a conditional third-round pick sent by the New York Islanders as part of the trade that brought Ladd from Long Island to the desert.
Lastly, Armstrong said the team could be interested in adding another goaltender to the mix, though that wasn’t certain. The GM said they were still active in the market, but was open-ended about opportunities within, saying this training camp, like last year’s, comes with “a ton of opportunity.” Right now in net, Arizona has Karel Vejmelka, Jon Gillies, Ivan Prosvetov, David Tendeck, and Anson Thornton under contract, along with Christopher Gibson in camp on a PTO.