It's only September but Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney says it "feels like Christmas around here." No wonder. The Coyotes embark on the 2013-14 season with a shiny new owner and a new first line center under the Christmas tree. There is even a new campaign slogan: "Hungrier than ever." While many preseason predictions have the Coyotes on the outside of the playoff picture the team expects to build on a strong offseason and solidified ownership to return to the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The last time the NHL played a full season the Coyotes were just seven wins away from winning the Stanley Cup. Maybe more importantly now as Coyotes new president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said "This team is truly here to stay." Unlike the previous half decade this season will not be marred by constant ownership drama and relocation rumors. The full attention of the players coaches front office and fans will be focused on the ice. With the blessing of their soon-to-be owners the Yotes signed the top scoring free agent on the market center Mike Ribeiro. Ribeiro who played under Coach Dave Tippett in Dallas scored 13 goals and 49 points in the lockout-shortened 48-game 2013 season. The team anticipates Ribeiro assuming the role of first line center. Known for his offensive prowess Ribeiro is expected to help the team's power play an area the Coyotes have struggled in for more than a decade. The Coyotes returned the majority of their team after re-signing free agents Kyle Chipchura Rob Klinkhammer Lauri Korpikoski Mikkel Boedker Michael Stone David Schlemko and starting goaltender Mike Smith. They also re-signed Tippett and Maloney. Their two key losses Boyd Gordon and back-up goaltender Jason LaBarbera signed with the Edmonton Oilers. After finishing 10th in the Western Conference and fourth in the Pacific Division the Coyotes hope to earn a playoff spot in a year with new divisions and a new playoff format. Phoenix will welcome Calgary Vancouver and Edmonton to the Pacific Division.
Newly Purchased Coyotes Prepare for Playoff Return
Five For Howling | Sep 14