May 23, 2013, 2:48 PM EST
Multiple sources are telling Fox Sports Arizona that the Phoenix Coyotes are close to awarding general manager Don Maloney with a new contract.
From the report:
Maloney’s contract was set to expire on June 30, and it was originally thought that he would not receive a new deal until the franchise’s current owner, the NHL, had found a new owner. But the league, recognizing the importance of having a general manager for the upcoming NHL Draft, free agency and myriad other reasons, took care of one very important order of business.
The next step, sources say, is to work out a deal with coach Dave Tippett, whose contract also expires on June 30, before turning their attention to negotiations with goalie Mike Smith, who is believed to be asking for a long-term contract with an annual payment between $6 million and $7 million.
For Coyotes fans worried about the still-NHL-owned franchise relocating this offseason, we suppose the news is encouraging.
That being said, given all that’s happened with this team, we hesitate to call it indisputable proof there will be hockey in the desert for years to come. There’s always the possibility Maloney gets an out clause in his new deal. And if he doesn’t, hey, having a job in Quebec City is better than being unemployed, right?
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