GM Armstrong: Coyotes ‘can take that next step’ in 2023-24

Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong believes he built a team that can show signs of significant growth this upcoming season.

The Coyotes have taken on unwanted contracts in exchange for draft picks over the last couple of years to springboard their rebuild. But that time appears to be over, as they didn't take on any such deals this summer and instead spent money and assets to bring in players who can help in 2023-24 and beyond.

"It's been a tough two years in the desert in terms of watching our team with the rebuild in place and taking bad contracts. Now it's getting to the good stuff," Armstrong told's Jon Lane.

"Listen, we're going to have some challenges. We're going to have some moments we're not very good, but we've got an ability now to go into the ring from the first day of training camp. Now, we can take that next step. The next step for us is trying to play meaningful games the whole year and push to see how good we can become."

Despite the obvious rebuild, the Coyotes performed better than many expected last season by finishing 27th out of 32 teams with a 28-40-14 record. Arizona projects to be much improved this coming campaign after signing Jason Zucker, Alexander Kerfoot, Nick Bjugstad, Troy Stecher, and Travis Dermott in free agency.

The cap flexibility at the Coyotes' disposal helped land the free agents, but Armstrong was convincing enough to squash players' concerns about organizational instability.

"Guys that we acquired through free agency, I said, 'Listen, I don't build rinks. I build organizations, and I build teams, and we're trying to build a championship team here in the desert, and here's what we can do for you to bring you in and make you a Coyote. This is the opportunity that's in front of you.' Players bought in," Armstrong said.

Armstrong also helped convince Logan Cooley to turn pro instead of returning to college as the 2022 No. 3 pick originally planned. Additionally, the team made a notable trade splash, sending a second-round selection to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Sean Durzi, who Armstrong said will quarterback the team's top power-play unit.

Arizona's 2023-24 campaign will start unconventionally with a pair of preseason games in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept. 22 and 23 before returning to North America. While jet lag is a fair concern, Armstrong said he believes the trip will help the team come together early.

"I think that's going to be a huge bonding thing for us as an organization," Armstrong said. "We're going to be bonded before our first (regular-season) game takes place. I think coaches yearn to have their natural team together, and that gives an opportunity for our coach right away to work with our team right out of the get-go, so I think that's a big positive if we can fight off the jet lag and get our legs underneath us."

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July 31 2023 – Farhan Lalji

Blake returns to talk shop with Matt on a terrific weekend for local spots. The Lions tie a CFL record for shutouts in a season with another blanking of the Elks & the Whitecaps come back from the death, at the death, to advance to the knockout stage at Leagues Cup. Other topics include the Canucks chasing milestones (and how team achievement needs to upend individual statistics) and Canada's awful performance at the FIFA World Cup. TSN's Farhan Lalji joins from Chicago to tell us why the Lions defence is so great and evaluates QB Dane Evans' performance off the bench in a win for the injured Vernon Adams Jr. Farhan also catches us up on Nathan Rourke's plight at Jaguars camp, as well as talk what the Canucks need to do this summer before training camp. Presented by Applewood Auto Group.

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Wild sign Gustavsson to 3-year, $11.25M contract

The Minnesota Wild announced Monday that they signed goaltender Filip Gustavsson to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $3.75 million.

The two sides were scheduled for arbitration Friday. Gustavsson is coming off of a two-year contract that carried a $787,500 cap hit.

His new deal features a five-team no-trade clause in the final year of the contract, according to PuckPedia. He'll be an unrestricted free agent in 2026.

The 25-year-old posted a 22-9-7 record and a 2.10 goals against average last season. His .931 save percentage ranked second among goaltenders with over 10 NHL appearances.

In the playoffs, Gustavsson had a .921 SV% in five starts, including a spectacular 51-save performance in the Wild's Game 1 double overtime win against the Dallas Stars. The only postseason game he didn't start was Game 2, which went to Marc-Andre Fleury. Gustavsson was pulled following the second period in Game 6 after allowing three goals on 26 shots.

Minnesota acquired Gustavsson from the Ottawa Senators in 2022 in a straight swap with Cam Talbot. He's played 66 games over three seasons split between the two clubs and has a career .920 SV%.

The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted the Swede 55th overall in 2016. He was shipped to the Senators in 2018 as part of the Derick Brassard trade.

Internationally, Gustavsson has played for Sweden at every level. He was named the best goaltender at the 2016 U18s and 2018 world juniors. He won gold at the 2018 World Championships as Sweden's third-string netminder, and silver at the world juniors, U18s, and Hlinka Gretzky Cup as starter.

The Wild have $1.6 million in cap space after the signing, according to CapFriendly. Calen Addison is the last restricted free agent yet to sign.

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Report: Ducks, Terry $3.5M apart in arbitration

The Anaheim Ducks and forward Troy Terry have a $3.5-million gap to overcome in arbitration, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports.

Terry's camp reportedly filed at $8 million, while the Ducks came in at $4.5 million.

The 25-year-old winger finished the season tied for the team lead in goals (23) and second in points (61) over 70 games. He represented Anaheim at the All-Star Game for the second straight year.

Terry broke out offensively during the 2021-22 campaign with 37 goals and 67 points. He's coming off of a three-year contract signed in 2020 that carried a $1.45-million cap hit.

He has accrued 75 goals and 176 points in 274 games with the Ducks. Terry turned pro in 2018 after a productive three-year tenure at the University of Denver. Anaheim drafted him 148th overall in 2015.

The Ducks have $27 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly, and still have to sign restricted free agents Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale.

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Stone already ‘getting the itch’ to defend Stanley Cup championship

Mark Stone may be relishing the offseason and his time with the Stanley Cup, but the Vegas Golden Knights captain is already thinking about the club's quest for a repeat.

"It's been a short summer but a great summer," Stone told's Darrin Bauming and Amalie Benjamin. "I'd do anything to do this all over again next year, but I'm excited to get back again."

Stone had his time with the Cup earlier this week, taking it to a children's hospital in his hometown of Winnipeg with family. Vegas won the trophy in mid-June, and training camp is scheduled to start in mid-September. But the 31-year-old wants to hit the fast-forward button.

"We are getting the itch to get back in the gym, getting the itch to get back on the ice," Stone said. "Sometimes you think (a teammate) wants the time off, and then you get a month in, and you're ready to get back. I'm ready to get back."

Stone underwent his second back surgery in a nine-month span on Jan. 31 after injuring it less than three weeks earlier. He missed the rest of the regular season but returned for the playoffs, racking up 11 goals and 13 assists over 22 games to help Vegas triumph over the Florida Panthers in the championship round.

The two-way dynamo has been limited to 80 regular-season games combined over the last two campaigns due to injuries.

Stone has spent four full seasons and part of another with Vegas. The Golden Knights acquired him in a trade with the Ottawa Senators in February 2019. He played parts of seven campaigns with the Sens to begin his career.

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Coyotes, McBain avoid arbitration with 2-year deal worth reported $3.2M

The Arizona Coyotes announced Sunday that they signed forward Jack McBain to a two-year contract.

The annual average value is $1.6 million, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports.

McBain's arbitration hearing was set for Sunday. His camp filed at $2.25 million for the season, while the Coyotes countered at $2.4 million over two years, according to Friedman.

The 23-year-old accrued 12 goals and 26 points in 82 games last season with the Coyotes as a rookie.

"We are very pleased to sign Jack to a new contract," Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said in a statement. "He's a big, strong, physical center who led our team in hits last season and contributed offensively. We look forward to having him back on our roster this season."

McBain played four seasons at Boston College before turning pro after the 2021-22 season. The Coyotes acquired his signing rights in March 2022 from the Minnesota Wild for a 2022 second-round pick.

The Toronto native represented Canada at the 2022 Olympics, where he tallied a goal and two points in five contests. McBain recorded two goals and four points in 10 games en route to a gold medal at the World Championships in May.

Arizona had $8.7 million of cap space prior to the signing, according to CapFriendly. This doesn't include cap hits for Shea Weber, Jakub Voracek, or Bryan Little, who are eligible to be placed on long-term injured reserve.

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