NHL notes: Coyotes sale saga might cost club

Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith makes a save during the first period of their NHL hockey game...

Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith makes a save during the first period of their NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Alberta, April 12, 2013. (REUTERS)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:00 PM ET

The ongoing Phoenix Coyotes sale drama might cost the team one of its top assets.

Star goaltender Mike Smith, due to be an unrestricted free agent July 5, will not negotiate a contract with the club until its ownership situation has been sorted out.

“The biggest part about me signing back here will be: Is the ownership group coming in, is this going to be a place that free agents are going to want to come and play and are they going to spend the money to make this a better team on an every-year basis?” Smith told The Arizona Republic.

“I think that’s the most intriguing piece of the puzzle.”

After establishing himself as the Coyotes’ No. 1 goalie and playing himself into Vezina Trophy contention two seasons ago, Smith is in search of elite-level money but is more concerned with being part of a winning formula.

“I’m not going to be selfish with this whole situation and demand this stupid contract that we’re not going to be able to build a team around,” the 31-year-old said. “I believe you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There’s good players that make a lot of money, and I think I deserve a fair contract. By any means I’m not expecting to hit a home run.”

The NHL has been trying to sell the Coyotes since 2009 when they bought the team out of bankruptcy. The league has reportedly reached a purchase agreement with a group called Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, pending an arena management deal with the City of Glendale, Ariz.

BYE-BYE SCHULTZ?

Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee has acknowledged that veteran defenceman Jeff Schultz wants out.

“He did ask for a trade,” McPhee told CSNWashington.com Saturday. “As we’ve told every player, if you ever want to be traded or you’re not happy then let us know and we’ll trade you. So we started working on it and we’ll see what develops.”

Schultz, who has spent his entire seven-year NHL career with the Capitals, said his diminishing role on the team led him to make the request.

“My agent and I thought there has got to be somewhere else where a team needs a player like myself and I can be utilized a lot more than I was here,” Schultz told the Washington Post. “It was like I was a young first-year player again with them. They didn’t have that trust in me that they could put me out there in tough situations or even in the third period.”

Schultz played 26 games during the lockout-shortened season and didn’t play at all during the playoffs.

The 27-year-old stay-at-home defenceman comes with a salary cap hit of $2.75 million through next season.

WHITE OUT

Ian White’s time with the Detroit Red Wings is likely done.

After the veteran blueliner went from everyday player to frequent healthy scratch in the lockout-shortened season, head coach Mike Babcock indicated White wouldn’t be with the club next season.

“It didn’t go the way Whitey wanted it,” Babcock told Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily. “Whitey’s a real good person, a real good man. We wish him luck.”

White was a top-four defenceman for the Wings two seasons ago, and was often paired with the now-retired Nik Lidstrom. He scored seven goals and 25 assists in 77 games then.

He followed that season up by scoring just two goals and two assists in 25 games in 2013.

WANTED: DALLAS DAVE

Dallas Eakins is a wanted man.

At least four teams are interested in the services of the Toronto Marlies head coach, according to TSN.

The Maple Leafs have given the Dallas Stars permission to speak with the bench boss of Toronto’s AHL affiliate. The Vancouver Canucks were given the green light Thursday. The New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers are also interested in Eakins.

The Oilers are the only team in that group who have a head coach. Ralph Krueger was promoted to the position in June to replace Tom Renney.


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