The Coyotes have locked up one of their pending unrestricted free agents, announcing the signing of defenseman Jordan Oesterle to a two-year contract extension. While the team did not release financial details, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that the deal will carry a cap hit of roughly $1.4MM. That represents a nice boost from the league minimum $650K he’s earning this season.
Oesterle is in his first season in Arizona after being acquired from Chicago this summer as part of the Marian Hossa trade. He has impressed this season, playing his way into a regular role for the most part while chipping in offensively as well with 20 points (a career high) in 51 games. That sits second on the Coyotes in terms of scoring by defensemen, only behind Oliver Ekman-Larsson. As a result, he now has some stability for his immediate playing future, something he hasn’t had the luxury of having after spending his career on deals at or near the league minimum.
With the move, the Coyotes now have over $30MM tied up in their back end for next season which gives them one of the most expensive defense corps in the league. For a team that has a limited payroll to work with, potentially spending more on the blueline than their forward group may be a risky strategy for GM John Chayka to work with. Accordingly, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them look to move a defender in the not-too-distant future, be it in advance of Monday’s trade deadline or sometime this coming offseason.