There's been a lot of good news coming from the Phoenix Coyotes over the past few days. Today, the Coyotes avoided arbitration with Lauri Korpikoski, signing the Finnish defensive forward to a two-year contract reportedly worth about $3.6 million. Avoiding a trip to arbitration may be the key, as GMDM gets to avoid the negative sentiments that are inherent in the proceedings and retain a key cog in Coach Tippett's system for two more seasons.
Also signed were four young(er) players who will mostly be either fighting for roster spots or filling the AHL roster with the Portland Pirates. The Coyotes announced that they had signed forwards Brett MacLean, Kyle Chipchura, Mathieu Beaudoin and Marc-Antoine Pouliot. MacLean played a few games with the Coyotes last year and scored a goal in his first ever NHL contest - while his skating has been considered a work in progress, he's probably the most talented player of this bunch.
Finally, the Coyotes announced that they have reached over 90% renewals for season tickets and sold over 1,000 new season tickets for the 2011-12 season. These sales move them into the top 5 of the NHL for new season ticket sales this offseason. While this news should be taken with the grain of salt that many teams already have much larger season ticket bases, it is still promising considering there has still been no progress on selling the team to a new owner and certainly very limited marketing.
On the sour front, Coyotes television play-by-play announcer Dave Strader is leaving the team for greener pastures...er, icier climes.
Strader, widely considered to be one of the best play-by-play men in the business is reportedly taking a full time position with NBC/Versus in light of their increased broadcast schedule planned for this year under their new TV contract. While Coyotes fans will certainly miss the professionalism and talent that @theVoiceDS brought to the booth every night, it is a well deserved promotion for him and I wish him nothing but the best.
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