Arizona Coyotes ownership deal in trouble?

With Arizona Coyotes fans cheering in the background, Coyotes' Antoine Vermette, left, celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings with teammate Shane Doan (19) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

In October, Andrew Barroway was set to acquire a 51-percent stake in the Arizona Coyotes for $152.5 million. He would join a group of nine partners, and serve as the team’s governor. The rest of the owners characterized the deal as another way to strengthen the Coyotes’ stability and dismissed relocation talk.

Two months later, Larry Brooks of the NY Post reports that the deal could be in jeopardy … and that the Coyotes could be in a purge of big contracts:

Remember how a few short weeks ago Andrew Barroway was on the verge of gaining majority control of the Coyotes, the news first reported by The Post?

Not so fast, for now comes word from a plugged-in source that the deal appears to be falling apart, with Barroway seemingly on the verge of backing out.

Slap Shots has been told the current ownership has directed GM Don Maloney to shed payroll … which would mean stripping the club with the league’s third-lowest payroll into a bare-bones operation.

Who could be going in addition to Keith Yandle (at $5.2 million per season through next year)? Not Shane Doan? Not Oliver Ekman-Larsson?

The equally pertinent question, though, is which will come first: the end of the NHL’s financial problems in the desert or the end of Coyotes?

The idea that the team would jettison Ekman-Larsson, locked in at $5.5 million annually through 2019 and obviously appealing to anyone that would potentially buy the team.

But looking at this roster … yeah, there are a few bodies that could be available if the team needs to shed payroll and remains outside the playoff race.

The Coyotes are denying the report through Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona:

The Post has had good information on Barroway in the past. The idea that he’d back out of this deal isn’t sunny news for the Coyotes. But neither was the fact that the ownership group needed him to sign on to begin with.