Skip to content

Coyotes got ‘complacent’ with ‘people being here too long,’ says GM

Apr 17, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

Don Maloney Getty Images

Some pretty interesting stuff coming out of the desert with regards to the future of the Phoenix Coyotes, per the Arizona Republic:

What everyone seems to agree on is that the chemistry of the group needs some tweaking. Besides internal options and free agency, the Coyotes are also open to executing trades — and the targets may be players 23 to 25 years old who complement enthusiasm with experience.

“We have to look at our group and say we need more energy,” [GM Don] Maloney said. “We need more hunger into our group, and maybe we got a little complacent with people being here too long.”

The longest-serving Coyote is captain Shane Doan, but his standing within the organization is about as good as it gets. Maloney also acknowledged Doan’s struggles this year stemmed from issues with conditioning after missing 12 games to Rocky Mountain fever.

So…who else has been in Phoenix too long? A look at some of the other long-serving players:

Radim Vrbata

The Czech sniper scored 27 goals with the Coyotes in 2007-08, then left to sign in Tampa Bay, then left Tampa Bay to play in the Czech Republic, then returned to Phoenix in 2009-10…and has been in the desert ever since. He had a down year in 2013-14, scoring just 20 goals and 51 points while being left off the Czech Olympic team. Vrbata’s a UFA this summer and one wonders if he’ll be back with the ‘Yotes.

Keith Yandle

He’s spent his entire eight-year career in Phoenix but has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the last two. A talented offensive defenseman that’s had his defensive abilities called into question, Yandle’s stats this season reflected that narrative: 52 points in 82 games, with a minus-23 rating (yes, yes, we all know the flaws of the plus-minus statistic.)

Yandle has two years left on his five-year, $26.25 million deal, one that carries an annual cap hit of $5.25 million.

Derek Morris

Has served two lengthy stints in Phoenix — the first from 2003-09, the second from 2010-14. Morris was a healthy scratch late in the season, turns 36 in August and is a pending UFA. Feels like the writing’s on the wall here.

Though he’s not a long-serving Coyote, one figures the future of Mike Ribeiro will be discussed this offseason as well. The veteran center was a disappointment during his first year in Phoenix, a development compounded by the fact he was the club’s big free-agent splash last summer, signing a four-year, $22 million deal.

Ribeiro was also a healthy scratch late in the season, and Maloney acknowledged the struggles.

“I don’t want to stand up here and point the finger at Mike Ribeiro,” Maloney explained. “If he’s standing up here, he’s saying the same thing. He’s disappointed in himself and in his performance. You’d think that a guy of his age or Shane Doan’s age or Derek Morris’ age would be confident. But, their confidence goes in ebbs and flows.

“I think Mike got down on himself and in his play. He got in a rut and couldn’t get out of it.”


  1. thailer35 - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Morris is gone. There’s no way we can keep him when we have young guys playing just as well without the stupid penalties.

    Yandle is staying, whether he should or not. Almost a lock to be the next captain, I’m sure. The organization just loves him, even though he drives fans nuts.

    Vrbata, I’d like to see stay, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to keep him to be honest. If he stays, I’m sure we’ll want him cheap, and I’m sure someone will offer him some more to go elsewhere.

    I also wonder if a guy like Hanzal is on the trade block. He’s doesn’t have major injury issues, but his timing is terrible when he does get injured, and I sometimes question how much he is really giving 100%.

    I also wonder how many guys like Moss, Biz, Halpern, McMillan, Summers and Greiss will be back. Could be a very different looking team next year, and I think I’m alright with that.

    • stevebass2 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      Hanzal’s gotta go. He is embarrassingly slow and gives 40% effort on a good night. I disagree with you about his injury issues, he seems like he’s made out of glass and I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen him take a mild hit along the boards and limp to bench like he just got hit by a car. Yandle also should be sent packing, especially since there are so many mediocre GMs in the NHL who I am sure would be willing to overpay for him. The lineup is getting stale, I agree, and I have a feeling that some major trades are on the way.

  2. WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Well at least the fans aren’t there too long

  3. storminator16 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    I have a hard time listening to NHL GMs the past few years. They continually blame players in the media (behind closed doors I wouldn’t care) for not performing when they don’t blame themselves publicly for A) not identifying if the player fits on their squad or B) not knowing when to cut bait with a player. Case in point: Morris. He’s 36 and has been declining for years. How much tread did you think was on those tires?

    I’m not singling out Maloney; it seems like all GMs are doing this. It is freaking shameful. It seems like they play politics way too much instead of being GMs.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      A) Ribeiro HAS blamed himself and B) Maloney isn’t ragging on anyone. In fact, he comes across pretty understanding about Ribeiro. Some guys have off years for one reason or another. And how exactly should GMs spin things when the team has had an uncharacteristically down year? Maloney said the team needs more energy. That is true. He did not tear apart certain individuals, or embarrass anyone. You’re right in that there’s been a glut of coaches, managers, and other front office guys who share a bit too much information or state publicly what should have been kept private. I fail to see where Maloney went wrong here though.

  4. soro17 - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    What did they think would happen when they paired Ribeiro, a lazy, freestyling, selfish, skilled offensize player, with Tippett and his conform-or-be-cast-out drone mentality? Entirely predictable and for Maloney not to take some ownership of this and cast blame is ridiculous.

    • phx7355 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      To be fair though, Tippett coached Ribeiro with great success in Dallas for 3 years.

  5. elvispocomo - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Well that’s ironic since the team was hardly to be expected to stay there that long.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1804)
  2. P. Kessel (1386)
  3. M. Richards (1172)
  4. N. Backstrom (1083)
  5. M. Giordano (1034)