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Coyotes about to confront key free-agent decisions

With Smith situation resolved, Coyotes can turn attention to other free agents.

With the Coyotes' ownership saga stealing all the headlines, GM Don Maloney, assistant GM Brad Treliving and coach Dave Tippett slipped quietly out of the state this week to attend Sunday’s NHL Draft.

With goalie Mike Smith's situation seemingly resolves, here’s a quick update on the team’s key unrestricted and restricted free agents.

UFAs

Forward Boyd Gordon: The Coyotes have had informal talks with Gordon, and Treliving met with him briefly up in Vancouver, but substantive talks have not yet begun.

Gordon made $1.35 million last season and is considered a perfect fit in Tippett’s system. He wins lots of face-offs, he blocks shots, he has a strong defensive game and he makes good decisions with the puck. Gordon had four goals and 14 points in 48 games last season.

Forward Kyle Chipchura: Treliving talked to Chipchura’s agent this week and will also meet with him in New Jersey this weekend to get a sense of his contract needs. Chipchura made $675,000 last season. He adds grit, a physical game and sound defensive play. He had five goals and 14 points in 46 games last season.

KEY RFAs

Forward Mikkel Boedker: The Coyotes expect to extend a qualifying offer to the speedy and emerging Boedker by early next week. Since he made more than $1 million this past season, the qualifying offer would be for the same salary: $1.2M. 

Boedker is arbitration eligible, and if he elects to go that route, a hearing would be held some time between mid-July and early August, assuming he and the Coyotes don’t come to an agreement before then. If he does elect arbitration, the Coyotes would have the right to choose either a one-year or a two-year award under CBA rules.

He had seven goals and 26 points in 48 games last season. The Coyotes are hoping for much more offense from him next season.

Forward Lauri Korpikoski: The Coyotes expect to extend a qualifying offer to Korpikoski by early next week. Since he made more than $1 million this season, the qualifying offer would be for the same amount he made this season: $1.85 million. 

Korpikoski is also arbitration eligible, and if he elects to go that route, a hearing would be held some time between mid-July and early August, assuming he and the Coyotes don’t come to an agreement before then. And again, f he does elect arbitration, the Coyotes would have the right to choose either a one-year or a two-year award under collective bargaining agreement rules.

Korpikoski had six goals and 11 points in 36 games last season.

Defenseman Michael Stone: Treliving has spoken with Stone’s agent and categorized those conversations as positive. “I don’t foresee any problems,” he said.

Stone’s two-way game made enormous progress as last season progressed. His base salary was $575,000, with playing bonuses of $212,500. He had five goals and nine points in 40 games last season.

Defenseman David Rundblad: There were reports earlier this offseason that Rundblad, who is still being developed in the minor leagues, might play in the KHL this season. Here’s what Treliving had to say.

"He is a European (Swedish) guy, and they have options. We like David a lot and think there’s a real good upside to him still developing. I know David wants to play in the NHL at the end of the day. Is there opportunity for European players elsewhere? Sure. But I don’t view that as leverage. If someone is willing to pay them X over there, God bless them. We’ve got a salary structure to work with.”

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