It’s the end of the preseason! The Arizona Coyotes finished their show list with an impressive 5-1, and while the wins obviously had no impact from a regular season standpoint, it was certainly encouraging to see the team put on quality changes in place, given the new team, coaches, and systems.
Meanwhile, Phil Kessel business rumors begin to spread, the team’s search for a temporary (and permanent) home continues, and Alex Galchenyuk has officially signed a deal with The Valley.
Let’s dive in!
Phil Kessel Business rumors heat up
It’s one of The Valley’s less well-kept secrets: Kessel wants to play for a competitor. TSN insider Darren Dreger mentioned earlier this week that the 34-year-old is hoping to complete the final year of his contract with a team that has a realistic chance of winning a championship. His current contract, an eight-year, $ 64 million contract, was signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.
Related: Arizona Coyotes 2021-22 season preview section
Also, the winger would not be in the Coyotes’ future plans.
“He wants a fresh start, he wants to land a new contract somewhere in the National Hockey League,” Dreger said in his Insider Trading podcast earlier this week. “He’s got some trade protection, he wants to go to a competitive, if not rival, team if you will.”
There is no sign that any trade is imminent, and the teams would likely like to see that Kessel’s recent foot injury is nothing that will derail the former fifth overall pick’s season. It should be noted that he achieved legendary ironman status, appearing in 900 consecutive games, which places him fifth all-time in the NHL for consecutive games played.
Will the Coyotes play in the new ASU arena next year?
While the team’s interest and the recent arena proposal in Tempe has been well documented over the past month, there has been absolutely no update on where the Coyotes can potentially call home. them from next season. The City of Glendale has indicated that the team’s lease will not be renewed after this season, and while there has been a lot of speculation about temporary homes, including the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the new arena for the Arizona State, or even a return trip to Gila River Arena, nothing finished has been determined.
Interestingly, as the team continues to pursue the Tempe Arena deal, the temporary home that could be the frontrunner is Arizona State’s new 5,000-seat arena. While this is pure speculation, Arizona President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez recently told the Phoenix Business Journal that the Sun Devils’ new arena would be “complementary” to the team’s plans. (from ‘Arizona Coyotes move forward on new arena in Tempe; team-confident interim solution will emerge’, Phoenix Business Journal, 04/10/2021)
It would kind of be a loop moment for the Coyotes if it did indeed become their temporary home, given that they were in talks with the school in 2016 for a joint arena. Although the deal ultimately collapsed, the two organizations have partnered frequently since.
Arizona State is playing its final season at the Oceanside Arena, and while the arena is slated for completion in December 2022, it appears the plan is for the team to be able to use it until fall 2022. (from of ‘ASU Versatile Arena Reaches Top With Final Beam Placement‘, azcentral.com 29/09/2021).
Coyotes sign year-long deal with Galchenyuk
Arizona is once again welcoming a familiar face after securing a one-year, $ 750,000 contract with Galchenyuk, 27, who was drafted third by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2012 NHL Draft.
The center enjoyed one of his most successful seasons in the NHL in terms of points with the Coyotes in 2018-19, registering 19 goals and 22 assists. He’s been on a pro trial in training camp before and has a lot of advantages in a team that needs veteran leadership when rebuilding from the ground up.
It’s been a while since Galchenyuk has been productive, having amassed just 13 points in 34 games with the Ottawa Senators and Maple Leafs last season. It was a slight drop from 2019-20, when he had recorded a total of 24 points in 59 games between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Minnesota Wild.
Galchenyuk finished the preseason with one assist in three games.
To be continued for coyotes
Arizona has completed its preseason and will begin the regular season next Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They will then travel to Buffalo for a Saturday (Oct. 16) game against the Sabers before their home opener on Monday, Oct. 18 against the St. Louis Blues.
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A die-hard desert hockey fan and proud alumnus of the State of Iowa. Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes contributor for The Hockey Writers.