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Coyotes fans who have followed me for a while know that I have a few crusades that I pursue with fervor. I don’t like poorly reasoned, factually flawed or poorly informed arguments. I don’t like lazy content such as trade grades or mock drafts. I don’t like ketchup on hot dogs, I don’t like IPAs anywhere, and I don’t like the mispronunciation or misspelling of European hockey players’ names.
I am diligent in including the correct vowels in Juuso Välimäki, and I know that unlike German or Swedish, those are not umlauts in Finnish. I include the accent aigu in André Tourigny’s name, the accent grave in Daniel Brière’s name, and when pronouncing Jan Jeník (note the accented i), I say “Yahn Yen-yeek” because that is the way that Jan told me it is pronounced.
This practice goes all the way back to former Coyotes forward Fredrik Sjöström, whose name was repeatedly butchered by broadcasters, writers and fans. I asked him how his last name should be pronounced and it was somewhere between huh-strum and hoo-strum with a rolled r.
Why is this important? Because, among other things, journalism is a business of accuracy. To purposely leave out accents, umlauts or vowels unique to a language is to purposely misspell someone’s name. To me, that is a journalism cardinal sin.
It was with great embarrassment that I learned the proper pronunciation for Coyotes prospect Aku Räty’s name after @MajorNelson rightfully chirped me about it in our Discord channel. The proper pronunciation comes via Coyotes Finnish scout, Jani Kiviharju: Ah-koo. Rra-too, with the a in Räty pronounced like the a in hat.
ESPN’s Ryan Clark, a former colleague of mine, offered this well-reasoned take.
“There are a lot of layers to this. And for those who do not see those layers, here’s why it matters. Your name is your identity, your heritage, your nationality, your family. Having those items be respected is important as this world gets smaller.
“Spending the extra time to look up the codes for accent marks or umlauts is not hard. Nor is it hard to speak with a player about how to say their name because you never know what you might learn about them and their experience just by striking up a conversation.
“It also comes back to this. If we can find ways to pronounce names like Krzyzewski and how to spell them rather than refer to him as Coach K, then there are no excuses.
“Maybe that could be viewed as too deep or even too shallow an answer for a mailbag, but one of the few universal truths is that everyone wants some form of respect. Accurately pronouncing and spelling one’s name — regardless of where they are from — is just that; respect.”
Clark’s ESPN colleague, Greg Wyshynski, offered another good take:
“As a Wyshynski, I feel a personnel connection to this question because my name is butchered every time I pick up a call to hear about an extended warranty for my car. The NHL is blessed with having players all over the world playing in this league. Obviously, every announcer should make their best effort to get players’ names right — and if not at first, then certainly the second time they’re covering them.
“As for print media and on jerseys, first, I’d be curious as to how the players themselves want their names presented on jerseys and then respect that. As a writer, we should respect that too — and learn how to add proper punctuation through the keyboard without constantly copying and pasting after a Google search.”
And so I make this plea to fellow journalists and jersey makers alike: Ask the player how they would like their name spelled and pronounced, and then print or say it just so. It’s not hard, and it’s your job.
Let’s get to your questions; a record-setting 114 of them.
Coyotes questions via Discord
No and I don’t think the Coyotes do either. That’s why Ivan Prosvetov is up for the rest of the season. They need to know what they have in him because he will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer, and he will not be waivers exempt.
That means that if Karel Vejmelka, Connor Ingram and Prosvetov all report to training camp next season, one will not start the season with the Coyotes. Any of the three would have to pass through waivers and would likely be claimed.
My guess is that the Coyotes will complete their evaluation by the end of this season so that when they head into the summer, they can decide if they want to re-sign both Ingram and Prosvetov, sign one and then trade the other, decline to offer one a contract and make him an unrestricted free agent, or trade Vejmelka.
No on both counts, although I have heard that more polling is in the works soon. The only polling that I am aware of came much earlier in this process; internal polling by what I have been told by multiple sources is a reputable firm. That polling showed more than 60 percent support for the project. I do not know how the current campaigns for and against the project have impacted those numbers.
1. I think cagey is a fair way to view it, and it is apparent in the $1 million, one-year extension that he signed. They like a lot of what he has brought to the table with puck- moving and puck-handling skills, skating and his ability to quarterback a power play. They would like to see him do it consistently over a couple of seasons before committing to him long-term.
2. I think the latter. I still think that Jack McBain pencils in as a bottom-six center. Barrett Hayton is starting to show signs of being a middle-six center and maybe a No. 2, but I do not think that he is viewed as a No. 1 center at this point. Logan Cooley will need time to adjust to the speed, size and intricacies of the NHL game. I would not be surprised to see him start on the wing.
1. The plan has yet to take form, but I will absolutely be keeping my eye on this one. I think it is safe to say that teams will not be earning as much from their local TV deals, at least in the short term. The Coyotes could choose to air some of their games on free TV (I like this idea from a marketing standpoint). The league could decide to step in and manage the situation. I have heard a lot of possibilities. Stay tuned.
2. I think Barrett Hayton is changing some minds. If he can finish this season strong and get close to that 50-point range — especially after a very slow start in the points department — he could easily work his way into that core discussion. Coach André Tourigny likes a lot of the parts of his game.
1. This was an interesting question and so was the answer I got. This is by no means scientific or definitive, but two sources who would have a good idea named the same player: Nick Schmaltz.
2. Via Petey: “A very aggressive chase-the-puck mentality in all three zones. It’s a risk-reward system. Chasing the puck in the defensive and neutral zones can create holes in defensive coverage, but aggressive puck play can lead to offensive opportunities.”
1. That will be determined once he shows up at training camp and the coaching staff gains a better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses. As I noted above, it would not be a surprise to see him start on the wing.
2. I think JJ Moser is a keeper. Juuso Välimäki, Connor Mackey, Victor Söderström and Michael Kesselring still have plenty to prove. Patrik Nemeth and Josh Brown are likely temporary players. Brown could have some value at the 2024 trade deadline as a UFA. As for prospects, keep an eye on Artyom Duda, Vladislav Kolyachonok and Maveric Lamoureux.
1. LW: Ilka Sinisalo, Miroslav Šatan or Håkan Loob
C: Radek Bonk
RW: Chico Maki
LD: Larry Playfair or Zarley Zalapski
RD: Garth Butcher
G: Ron Tugnutt or Parris Duffus
1. I don’t know if the Coyotes will ever invest in an ECHL team in Arizona or nearby. Some Eastern Conference teams think that there is more value at that level for the development of players. I don’t think that the current Coyotes staff agrees, other than finding a spot for extra goalie prospects. The other issue is geography. While there are teams in Idaho and Salt Lake City, the vast majority of ECHL teams are in the East or Midwest, making travel costs prohibitive for any western-based teams.
2. The Queen Creek-Apache Junction area needs a rink but so does the growing Southwest Valley and the West Valley in general. Arizona needs more rinks period.
See above. We need more ice sheets to keep the game growing at the youth level, but it would also be cool to see a women’s team here in the PHF, which we discussed on Monday’s show. Finally, I have a dream that the Arizona Interscholastic Association will finally sanction hockey and make it an official varsity sport, but that is likely a pipe dream due to costs.
I am fully onboard with seeding the conferences 1-8. I don’t like the idea of eliminating divisions in the regular season, but I am tired of seeing elite teams meet in the early rounds of the postseason. The Boston-Tampa-Toronto triumvirate has been a brutal gauntlet for too long. Give the best teams a chance to meet later in the playoffs. They earn that right in the regular season.
They have not abandoned it and they are still active on many levels with outreach and youth hockey. That said, the team is bleeding money so they are trying to run a tighter ship with the hope that once the TED gets built, they can start making a greater impact. If that becomes a reality, I’d really like to see them join the effort to get more ice sheets built.
1. It’s like you named my three children and told me to get rid of two. I can’t possibly chose between those three. They may be my three favorite TV shows. I choose to punt this question.
2. I loved it. The NHL needs to push the envelope more often with this sort of experimentation and innovation.
Before I plan this must-see-web event, what would you call it?
GM Bill Armstrong told me recently that while there have been preliminary discussions, those talks will take place in earnest this summer. He doesn’t anticipate any trouble getting them signed. By the way, Välimäki already signed a one-year extension.
It would by the same percentages. The Coyotes would pay him two-thirds of his 12-percent retained salary over twice the term. The same thing happened with Dion Phaneuf in Ottawa when the Kings bought him out.
There are too many moving parts to answer that right now. Let’s see how things shake out. It could, but it will depend on what other moves they make and what shape they want Tucson to take.
1. I explored that topic in this story.
2. I like both, especially the earlier work of each band, but R.E.M was a major part of my high school and college experiences. Given those emotional ties, I’ll go with the Georgia band. By the way, Murmur is a masterful LP and Automatic for the People has one of the most beautiful songs they ever wrote, “Nightswimming,” which includes a a string arrangement by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones.
1. I touched on this above. If he can finish this season strong and get close to that 50-point range — especially after a very slow start in the points department — he could easily work his way into that core discussion. Coach André Tourigny likes a lot of the parts of his game.
2. Whether he stays with Keller will depend on a variety of things including continued chemistry and the other center options.
1. Yes, they have thanked me many times, even though such thanks is unnecessary. It’s my job.
2. I am not certain of the term of the five assistant coaches but I will try to find out.
I explored this above. They need to know what they have in him because he will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer, and he will not be waivers exempt so they won’t be able to keep all three goalies. That said, it would certainly help the Roadrunners to have their starting goalie as they push for the playoffs and those meaningful games that the management staff says are crucial to player development.
I don’t know and to be honest, that’s a subject that I will leave between father and son.
Conor Geekie will be back in the WHL next season, but I have wondered if Cooley might spend some time in Tucson to get his pro sea legs under him before making the NHL leap. The Coyotes management and development staffs have not closed the door on that possibility.
In a word, no. Välimäki-Moser is not a top pair. It might be a second pair. Jack McBain is not a top-six forward. We have very little or no idea what Cooley or Guenther will look like in the NHL. Geekie won’t be here next year and it is likely that one of these three goalies will also be gone.
Questions via Twitter
I’m not sure of a time frame but landing an elite player such as Connor Bedard or Adam Fantilli could accelerate the rebuild. Without that level of talent they’d probably need to try their luck a couple more times in the draft.
As I noted above, if he keeps up this pace he would very well play himself into a No. 2 center role. I don’t think he’s viewed as a No. 1 center right now — at least not on a playoff team, but Hayton is an uber competitive player so you can bet that any suggestion of what he cannot be will fuel him. I really like Hayton as a player and person. He’s got an edge to him that will serve him well.
Nope. Even GM Bill Armstrong has admitted that the rebuild is only about halfway finished. They need more players; elite ones and depth ones. Bill’s words. Not mine.
1. No idea where to begin here, especially because I no longer watch sitcoms. Over the years, All In The Family, Seinfeld and The Simpsons were incredibly influential and topical. Did you have specific shows in mind?
2. Recent? Probably, but the best all-time would have to be Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Tempe plan is dead if any of the three propositions fail. It would be time for Plan B, whatever that is.
1. I could play this game forever, but I’d go back to 2015 and take either Mikko Rantanen or Sebastian Aho instead of Dylan Strome. Or I’d go back to the watershed 2003 draft and not trade away all of the Coyotes’ first- and second-round picks.
2. It’s definitely his personality… and that epic beard. Obi is a popular teammate.
1. He’ll be back next season (the final season of his current contract). If he keeps doing what he’s doing, I would imagine they would sign him to an extension some time next year. I will delve into all of this in an upcoming story.
2. It would not. He would be playing on his NHL contract immediately, but he would not burn the first year of his entry-level contract (ELC) because he would not play in the requisite 10 games. The first year would slide to the following year so his entire three-year ELC would still be intact.
It must be a Finnish thing. Maybe countryman Matias Maccelli is giving him pointers.
Unless something dramatic happens, Matty Beniers is going win the Calder Trophy. If Maccelli keeps up this level of play, he could be a finalist and I think he would deserve it.
You are correct. He cannot play for the Coyotes, but the trade was not made with that intention. They wanted to shore up the Roadrunners blue line for the playoff push.
I’d say there’s a fair amount if they don’t enjoy any lottery luck. He would instantly become the most skilled center in the system. In an ideal world, he’d be your No. 2, Barrett Hayton would be No. 3 and Jack McBain would be No. 4, while Conor Geekie is allowed time to develop. Adam Fantilli would be soooo good for this team.
1. I don’t know. They’ll have to get lucky in the lottery or find a diamond with their later picks.
2. That has not been determined yet, but I could definitely see some guys coming over next season. I will dive into this more after the season ends.
No. Free agency is not the way to build a team. It is the path for filling in one or two pieces when you feel you are close to contention. A lot of financial mistakes are made in free agency that handcuff a team under a hard salary cap. The free-agent route is obviously much more expensive than the cost-controlled path of drafting players.
You misspelled tough. Do not question the work of the great Bea Wyatt!
No, he does not, although some national pundits such as Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek have taken notice. I’ll be writing about Tourigny soon.
The rebuild is not ahead of schedule. As GM Bill Armstrong just noted, it’s only about 50 percent complete. Matias Maccelli, Jack McBain and Christian Fischer are the notable players on expiring contracts, along with the two backup goalies.
Trading Keller might. Schmaltz could land them high picks in a trade. I don’t think that he will be a relevant player by the time this team genuinely emerges from the rebuild and is ready to compete, but he could still helpful in his early 30s.
I addressed this in a recent column.
Drafting Russian players is always fraught with risk. That risk has increased exponentially, given the global political situation created by the Vladimir Putin-led Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the shaky status of relations between the United States, Canada and Russia.
There is this line of thinking that the Coyotes are perfectly positioned to take such a risk because their rebuild timeline allows them the luxury of waiting until Michkov’s contract with Putin-friendly SKA Saint Petersburg expires after the 2025-26 season. I’m not so sure. Executives are feeling extremely skittish about the Russian situation and how it will impact that nation’s draft prospects. It would be a bad look for anybody to come up empty-handed with a high draft pick.
Somebody is going to take a swing at Michkov. He’s too good to leave sitting past the first round. Pronman had him ranked No. 2 in his latest prospect rankings. Could Arizona grab him with its second pick of the first round? Who will blink first? This will be one of the draft’s more intriguing storylines.
1. A couple of guys (Travis Boyd and Zack Kassian) wear a model of helmet that was unavailable in the proper paint color so the team had to adapt.
2. Some, but he may have to wait until August to find out if he’s getting an AHL offer. He could actually return to ASU. He has another year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
There is no credible app that I am willing to shift to yet, but I agree, Elon has made things far worse on Twitter. At least Teslas are safe. Oh, wait…
1. I’ve got him in the final five. The Bruins’ Jim Montgomery will win it, as he should. 2. I’d be keeping an eye on the goalies for the reasons mentioned above, and maybe Nick Schmaltz.
He has played too few games to evaluate him. André Tourigny noted on separate nights that he needed to do a better job in rebound control and tracking the puck, but he has battled hard and gotten results. I’m always up for Cat Tracks.
Both, but they won’t pursuing elite free agents or even mid-level guys. I expect more of the same next season.
I think you have to look at RFAs such as Christian Fischer, Matias Maccelli and Jack McBain as guys they’d like to re-sign, as well as one of the two RFA goalies; Conor Ingram or Ivan Prosvetov. UFAs Laurent Dauphin, Brett Ritchie and Michael Carcone will depend on the price and the AHL/NHL plans.
1. This roster is a long way from a playoff team. Don’t be fooled. There is a playoff timeline in mind. It’s not 2024 or 2025.
2. They are definitely looking at defensemen, but not with high picks. This is a forward-dominated draft, but they feel there are good opportunities for defensemen late in the first round and through the first three rounds.
I discussed all of this several times above. I think it may partially depend on their evaluation of Ivan Prosvetov and whether there is a better trade market for Karel Vejmelka than there is for Ingram.
He did not say that there is no Plan B. He said that they are solely focused on Plan A, but there is most certainly a Plan B, and maybe a Plan C. What I don’t know is how the NHL would react if the Tempe vote were to fail.
Yes, Farinacci told me that he won’t be going to back to college so I think there is a good chance that he will be playing in Tucson next season.
I wouldn’t have a problem with any of the combinations. I do expect one of them to be gone. Ideally, you would get something in return for the one who moves on.
If an NHL team sends a player back to the CHL, he can’t return to the NHL team until his junior team’s season ends. He is not eligible. The Coyotes sent Guenther back to the WHL so he could play meaningful playoff games and hopefully compete for a Memorial Cup. Seattle currently leads the WHL’s Western Conference.
Bob McKenzie? Foster Hewitt? Red Fisher? I dunno. That’s a tough list to build.
We’ll see. It’s not going to happen in the next couple of seasons so Tourigny would need to be extended to have that opportunity. He has worked wonders this season (story coming soon), but as André will tell you, this is the easy part. The hard part comes when there are expectations for winning.
I’m not sure they are quite ready for that move. They might need another year of development in the DEL.
Fantilli would be No. 2. Most analysts agree that the top two (or maybe even three with Matvei Michkov) players in this draft are better than anybody in last year’s draft, but Cooley is coming along quite nicely.
Those two may be the best on that underwhelming list. Adin Hill and Louis Domingue also come to mind. Maybe Ivan Prosvetov will change that view. It’s crazy that this franchise has never drafted a true No. 1 goalie, let alone a star. And yet, they have had a lot of good goalies.
Ha! I feel ya’. Adding one or two more elite players to this pool would mean so much.
I have always imagined a statue of Gary Bettman shaking Shane Doan’s hand. They could also have a wall of plaques with key players in keeping the Coyotes in Arizona: Alex Meruelo, George Gosbee, Wayne Gretzky, etc.
Ha! You’re a little bit crazy. The next 15-point increment is much harder to achieve than this one was.
Christian Fischer is Skipper.
Liam O’Brien would be Ginger.
Karel Vejmelka is Professor.
Petey says I would have to be Thurston Howell III because I’m so bougie so JJ Moser becomes Gilligan.
I’ve got nothing on Lovey, but Connor Ingram would probably play along… unless he was in Florida where that sort of stuff is not allowed.
Mary Anne? No clue.
He hasn’t told me, but they have been out scouting. There are not many marquee college free agents. Maybe an under-the-radar guy like St. Cloud State’s Dylan Anhorn? Keller would really have to get hot. I think 40 is a stretch, but he could easily pass 35.
I am starting to think not, but maybe if they get the arena approved, or maybe when it opens. He prefers to have Xavier Gutierrez do the talking.
I don’t know. Nobody knows for certain, but it is a significant amount; probably in the tens of millions each year.
I wonder about Räty and Emil Martinsen-Lilleberg. I’ll look into this more in the offseason.
He’s not a top line player. He’s a depth forward with good speed who can definitely add to the mix.
I am not qualified to evaluate prospects so I won’t, but the qualified analysts seem to think that Smith is the better prospect.
I don’t know. Based on what I have heard recently, he has not even decided if he is leaving Minnesota. It could depend on how the Gophers fare in the NCAA Tournament.
See above. Räty and Farinacci are distinct possibilities.
Sorry, I’m not playing by your rules. I gave you a full roster and there are definitely worthy players whom I left off this list.
Forwards: Nick Bjugstad, Christian Fischer, Radim Vrbata, Lawson Crouse, Shane Doan, Jeff Halpern, Jordan Martinook, David Moss, Brendan Perlini, Taylor Pyatt, Antoine Vermette, Tobias Rieder, Lauri Korpikoski
Defensemen: Luke Schenn, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Rusty Klesla, Ilya Lyubushkin, Zbynek Michalek, Connor Murphy, Teppo Numminen.
Goalies: Antti Raanta, Connor Ingram, Scott Wedgewood.
Robert Mastrosimone is fielding offers. Demetrios Koumontzis signed with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads, Chris Grando already signed with the Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL), the Utah Grizzlies signed Jacob Semik, and of course, the Coyotes signed Josh Doan.
On a playoff team, he’s a bottom-six center. Say they land Adam Fantilli in the draft and Cooley joins the team. At that point, he could be a No. 4 center (also behind Barrett Hayton), but he the team will not put a ceiling on him so he can rise on the depth chart depending on how he performs.
Veteran depth still matters in the AHL, as does some form of continuity, but as more prospects start to filter through Tucson, the Roadrunner’s chances will certainly improve.
It is certainly possible. Teams that have secured a playoff spot don’t always bring their A-game, but I would not diminish what the Coyotes have accomplished, especially at Mullett Arena.
I would think the latter, but they always leave roster slots open for young players to earn them. They don’t want to take that carrot away.
I believe it was at McGann’s Pub in County Claire that word of a once-in-a-century celebration was first spoken in hushed tones, and between sips of Beamish. After that, the news and excitement built, drawing people from far and wide, including the Peters clan of North Scottsdale, who packed food, water, a guitar and other provisions for the lengthy and dangerous trek.
See above. I discussed this multiple times. I do wonder if they will draft another goalie, but they do have developing and long-range prospects Rasmus Korhonen and Anson Thornton in the pipeline.
1. I think they will sign Fischer. He will be an RFA again so he is still under team control. Bill Armstrong mentioned how much he likes what Fisch brings to the team. He’s all-in type of guy and his attitude is infectious.
2. The Maccelli contract is one of the more intriguing storylines of the offseason. I will dive into that at the appropriate time.
1. That’s a fair list. Add Logan Cooley and Karel Vejmelka with the caveat that they may not be able to keep all three of their current goalies.
I suspect so, but I will do more reporting on that when the season ends. The Coyotes’ rights to Räty expire on June 1. Decision time looms.
I don’t get any sense yet. Only preliminary talks have taken place. Stay tuned.
Probably all of them, but one of the three goalies could be gone.
They might, but as much for the value he currently has on the market; a value that could diminish. That said, I’ll bet it won’t make Clayton Keller happy to lose his running mate. Those two have built incredible chemistry together.
Petey’s on stage with me: Sinatra, “My Way.”
I have wondered the same, but there are plenty of moving parts. Would the city council approve another renovation so soon after the last, costly one? Would new Suns owner Mat Ishbia want to share his arena? Would the Coyotes be able to generate enough revenue as a tenant in somebody else’s arena? Where would the Suns play while the renovation (at least $200 million) was taking place? That’s a lot of significant questions.
Top photo via Getty Images
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