Last night in a hotly contested, notably confused, and rancorous debate the Glendale city council voted to approve the RSE deal. The Coyotes will be staying in Glendale for five years or more. The NHL retains the 12th largest media market in America. The hockey media at large looses a side show storyline, the Glendale saga of rotating suitors, Goldman agitation, and players (UFA’s and others) being unwilling to go to a team that might fold or be uprooted at a moments notice.

What it means for

Players
Another stable market with growth potential. Arizona has more modest state taxes than many states, with a rate for high incomes lower than New York, New Jersey, California, Ohio or Virginia.

Advertisers
With the ownership group being led by someone who made their name in marketing, these owners will likely open their team, and possibly the league as a whole to better advertising campaigns. More importantly a large market with a stable owner can only be projected to bring more and more eyes, ears and wallets to consume advertisements.

The NHL
A blight on the NHL is on its way to being a historical footnote. With markets like Seattle and Quebec slavering for franchises of their own, expansion is something only slightly less certain than death and taxes. Two new franchises in “traditional hockey markets” (or elsewhere) would bring the NHL to a number on par with the National Football League that North American banner carrier for sports success. Adding any additional teams would give the league a number of franchises unsurpassed on the continent. A thirty four or thirty six team league will almost certainly draw in more of the top end talent in Europe and Asia. With that many more teams, the Premier series could even have games played in places like Seoul, Rio, Mexico City, Sydney, Johannesburg, and Tokyo as well as the standard European destinations.

Youth Hockey

With the Arizona stabilized for the coming years, the hockey tradition that has grown in Arizona since the Road Runners landed there can continue on unthreatened. Texas and California have produced first round draft picks, might we see Arizona produce a first overall selection in some future NHL draft? Will the USHL bring its expansion into the territory of the Arizona Coyotes? The rapidly expanding Western States Hockey League (WSHL) already has two teams in the state, what sort of expansion might they see?

In the long run, we don’t know what will happen to any hockey franchise. Montreal, Hartford, Seattle, Quebec City, and Ottawa are all failed hockey cities in what are called traditional hockey markets. Traditions do take time to grow, and they take a steady hand to bring it along. Arizona has had their NHL team for less than a generation, I’m not sure at what point, if any, there has been a leader for the franchise whose vision and purpose was to make hockey work. With this deal, I think they have it, and we have five years to see what growth can be made. To their advantage, they’ve seen all the mistakes that can be made, they’ve seen the results of systemic incompetence as well. Today they have a general manager and head coach who have worked wonders on a shoe string budget. Few franchises are lucky enough to have both a general manager and coach who can do so much with so little. With a bit more resources, and one voice guiding the ship, what might they do? Will Doan, Ekman-Larsson, Yandle, and Smith hoist the Cup under the hot Arizona sun?

With the NHL draft this weekend we know three things a: There will be trades 2: there will be “off the board” picks and d: all bets are off on sane prices being paid to get starting goalies and top four defenseman. Some of the names being talked about are Scott Clemmenson of the Panthers, Cory Schnieder of the Canucks, and Rich Peverley of the Bruins as trade bait. Your guess is as good as any on which move where.

What We Know (by the new divisions)

Division A:

Anaheim: There are more rumors surrounding the Ducks and Bobby Ryan going to at least 41 other NHL teams than in at least a year. Capwise they can probably afford to keep him, in reality they need a 2nd line center, to resign Palmeri and of course the Ducks aren’t a cap ceiling team.

Calgary: While we’re all sympathetic to the flood devastation in the Flames home arena, it might just be considered a metaphor for what ownership and management have been doing to the team for a decade. Free agency will likely bring one or two more contracts like Wideman’s. They do have a good deal of cap space, and if the move Cammalleri, they’ll gain six million more. What they’d get in return is a mystery but based on recent trades…

Edmonton: They desperately need a viable defense, which is why they’ve been linked to every goaltender on the planet. With the 7th pick of the first round a player like Darnell Nurse would be a great find, if history holds true expect a forward to be drafted. Unfortunately the UFA market doesn’t hold much hope of pulling in a blueliner or two that would help, and the best name linked to Edmonton in rumors is Braydon Coburn.

Los Angeles: They need to get faster, and their cap hit needs to get slimmer. They have 10 forwards and 5 defenseman signed, and only six million in cap space. It’s likely several of he free agents like Dustin Penner, Rob Scuderi, Brad Richardson and one or two of the RFA’s have played out there string. With Martinez, Muzzin, and Lewis as yet unsigned and the Kings having no first round pick, a trade or two might be a solid solution for cap and talent reasons.

Phoenix: The more I watch this saga, the less convinced I am the Glendale city council wants a sports team in town. Four picks in the first three seventy five gives a solid chance for moving the roster forward, no matter what happens to the franchise.

San Jose: As the only one of the California teams not to have won a Stanley Cup the pressure on the franchise has to be mounting. With their aging core, leadership should be mighty nervous. They really need to find a way to move a big contract or two, and get back some younger, cheaper talent in return. Talent that doesn’t wilt in the playoffs would be a bonus. It is not unfair to say that if the Sharks don’t extend Couture in the immediate future that they are playing with fire and someone is likely to end up yajibuka.

Vancouver: Never a dead or a dull quiet moment in Canuckville. In addition to the ever present rumors of Luongo being traded or bought out, Cory Schneider’s coffle has been dragged to the auction block as well. With the Sedin’s aging poorly, Kesler unable to stay healthy, only 17 players signed for next year and $47,222* in cap space, this team is ready to be fleeced.

Division B

Chicago: While the celebration continues in the streets, the corner office has to make some tough choices. They have seven million in cap space and no backup goalie, no Bickell, no Kruger, no Stalberg and neither Leddy or Rozsival signed there’s likely to be turnover. It doesn’t project to be as deep at four summers ago when less than half the championship roster returned to the ice in October, but some big names and fan favorites might be pulling on another jersey this fall.

Colorado: Despite deep and pressing needs at defense, the team has said they would not take Seth Jones at number one. This could mean they intend to trade down and take him at 2-4, or it could just be another case of not having a clue. Cap wise the team is one of the few in an enviable state with 22 players signed and over $11 million in space.

Dallas: With three picks in the first forty, it is possible the Stars will find a center to go with high end wingers Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, and maybe just maybe a solid young defenseman to play with Alex Goligoski. They too have a lot of cap space if they are able to spend higher and could end up doing quite well in trades against some of the teams feeling the cap crunch.

Minnesota: The Wild have been rumored up and down the Twittersphere to be moving iconic hit maker Cal Clutterbuck this weekend. Having finally reached the playoffs after a long layoff, the team is loaded with talent, and also high end contracts. They have less than 3.5millon in cap space. Clutterbuck’s qualifying offer would be less than two million, but he’s unlikely to sign for less than 2.5 in my book.

Smashville Nashville: To call last season a disappointment is a bit of an understatement. After making themselves a playoff fixture, the team took two steps back and ended up in the lottery. If the fates are kind, or the general managers ahead of them smart, they will get a much needed dynamic forward in the draft. Respectable centers are needed for the top two lines, and some goal scoring. A trade that saw them land a center for an immediate push back towards contention would be a savvy move for the general manager of team USA and the Nashville Predators, might such a trade involve a Team USA veteran and a cap strapped western rival?

St. Louis: The Blues are in need of more offensive minded and able forwards. They presently have arguable the best defense in the conference, certainly top 3, but just can’t score enough. Vladimir Tarasenko should help the offense, but priority one for this team this off season isn’t the draft or any forwards, it is locking up Alex Pietrangelo for as long as they can. Simply put he’s one of the two or three best defensemen under 25 with  complete game, and his best years ahead of him.

Winnipeg: The Jets need depth. Depth at center, depth at wing, depth at goal, depth in warm winter coats. The honeymoon phase of the midnight train from Georgia is pretty much over and the fans are going to expect production. With both roster spaces and almost thirty million in cap space, the Jets are in good position to exploit the trade and free agent markets for what they possess. The Dustin Byfugelien trade rumors continue which makes zero sense at this point even if he’s stated he will never sign another contract there.

This summer look for my series on increasing NHL scoring without sacrificing fundamentals of the game.

 *According to Capgeek