NHL free-agency review: How Coyotes stack up in Pacific Division?

Chelena Goldman
NBC Sports BayArea
Here's a look at what the Coyotes have done so far in free agency and how it could affect the Sharks.
Here's a look at what the Coyotes have done so far in free agency and how it could affect the Sharks.

Editor's note: NHL free agency was fast and furious, and the moves that teams did (and did not) make set the tone for next season. All week, we'll examine the Sharks' Pacific Division rivals, and whether their free-agency approach put them in better, worse or the same position. Today, we dive into the Arizona Coyotes.

Typically when a contest against the Arizona Coyotes shows up on the Sharks' schedule, it's viewed as a game the Sharks should win. The Coyotes have, after all, occupied the bottom portion of the Pacific Division standings for a few seasons straight, despite having one or two mid-season hot streaks that make them appear to be a threat.

The Desert Dogs have had an active offseason thus far, making noise with some big signings in an effort to be more competitive next season. But is it enough to leapfrog the other teams in the Pacific who are trying to take the division crown? And how much more can they actually do with just $178,099 left in cap space?

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Here's a look at what the Coyotes have done so far in free agency.

Players who signed

As far as the start of free agency went, the Coyotes didn't do much. The biggest news actually came before the market opened on July 1 when Arizona acquired Phil Kessel from the Penguins in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk and Pierre-Olivier Joseph. They also traded Kevin Connauton to the Avalanche for Carl Soderberg.

Kessel may get the bulk of the attention because of his star power and what he can add to Arizona's power play, which was ranked 26th overall in the league last season. But adding Soderberg could pay off even more, due to the fact he can add depth down the middle of the offense and brings the element of speed the Avs' offense has been built on.

Players who left

For as little noise as the Coyotes made as far as signing players at the start of free agency, they certainly saw a few players depart for new teams.

While the loss of goalie Calvin Pickard won't have a lasting effect on the team -- he went 0-4-0 after Arizona acquired him last season -- the loss of center Nick Cousins and winger Richard Panik could leave holes in the Coyotes' offense.

Even with the addition of Kessel and Soderberg, the loss of Cousins, Panik, and Galchenyuk takes away some of the scoring power the Coyotes had last season.

[RELATED: NHL free agency review: Calgary Flames]

Better, worse, or the same?

One week after the market opened, the Coyotes don't appear to be a mounting threat in the Pacific Division. And even though there's still plenty of time to make moves before the end of the summer, Arizona has very little cap space to work with.

Even with the addition of a big player like Phil Kessel, the Coyotes aren't going to become a force for the Sharks to reckon with overnight. 

NHL free-agency review: How Coyotes stack up in Pacific Division? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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