Matt Smaby departs, looks like the Arizona Coyotes roster is a lock

Oct 1, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Keith Aulie (22) fights against Arizona Coyotes defenseman Matt Smaby (55) in the second period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

AAAAAAAANNNNNDDDDDDDD, IT’S OCTOBER!

The Arizona Coyotes haven’t done a whole lot of anything since they made their huge splash at the start of the off-season. They bought out Mike Ribeiro (then smeared his name all over the NHL community), then made a couple crazy swaps for Sam Gagner and B.J. Crombeen- which, by the way, Tampa Bay fans still aren’t over:

(never laughed so hard in my life. Thank you, HHHS. )

The Arizona Coyotes have already made headlines this week with this Andrew Barroway nonsense, and I won’t pretend that this is anywhere near as exciting. BUT. The team has finally, it seems, finalized the roster (well, more or less).

That’s right. At last count, the team was left with Justin Hodgman (F) and Matt Smaby (D) to trim down the roster by one more, after cutting every single one of my Fantastic Five. The team went with Smaby, releasing him from his PTO contract this afternoon.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel it bears repeating- I was never a big Matt Smaby fan. He’s a little slow for my taste, and didn’t bring anything overly spectacular to a defense that looks pretty all right on it’s own. I brought this up earlier in the week, when attempting to placate our fan base over the loss of Max Domi to the OHL London Knights for one more season, and I stand by it.

With that cut, Justin Hodgman looks to have made the team. Congrats, Justin! You don’t have to head back to Mother Russia, which is nice, since you’re not actually from there- you’re from Brampton, Ontario. Did you ever play hockey with Tyler Seguin growing up? Regardless, you’ll be playing against him now.

Hodgman is actually the only player I had anticipated the team retaining who they actually did. Head Coach Dave Tippett and General Manger Don Maloney passed over Brandon Gormley for Chris Summers, and every one of the ‘youth movement’ forwards has been reassigned to the minors or the juniors. Thank you, Coyotes front office, for making me right about at least one thing this off-season.

I feel like no one particularly cares how I’d do the lines, but just for the sake of it, here’s what I anticipate happening:

Offense:

Mikkel Boedker-Antoine Vermette- Martin Erat

Sam Gagner- Martin Hanzal- Shane Doan

Lauri Korpikoski-Joe Vitale-Brandon McMillan

Rob Klinkhammer- Justin Hodgman- B.J. Crombeen

David Moss, Kyle Chipchura

Defense:

Oliver Ekman-Larsson- Zbynek Michalek

Connor Murphy- Keith Yandle

David Schlemko- Michael Stone

Chris Summers

(We all know who’s in goal).

With five days until the Coyotes skate out against the Winnipeg Jets, the team has some time to figure out proper line combinations- or, who knows? They could pull a New York Islanders move, and just start collecting players from other teams.

*UPDATE: I would pppeeerrrsonallyyyyy like to see Kyle Chipchura placed on waivers, but maybe we need him? In any case, I accidentally left him off my extra forwards list in the first publishing of this article, and I think @SputnikAZ for pointing it out to me.

 

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