August 29, 2011
At first, we suspected the primary motivation for the Phoenix Coyotes in reacquiring Daymond Langkow(notes) is that he still owns his old Coyotes sweaters. And since fashions haven't changed, and with economics being what they are in Glendale … well, every little bit helps.
Just kidding. We all know Langkow's back because the Coyotes have no idea how long Kyle Turris(notes) will remained unsigned and he's still a 21-year-old player being asked to fill a primary offensive role he may not be ready for he's good in the room.
After hearing GM Don Maloney explain why he traded Lee Stempniak(notes) to the Calgary Flames on Monday for Langkow — roughly seven years after Phoenix traded Langkow to the Flames — there are actually a number of much, much more pertinent reasons for the deal.
He Embodies What The Coyotes Are: No, not "fragile," smartass. Maloney believes that if healthy, Langkow will be "tremendous" for the Coyotes: a solid two-way centerman who leads by example. "There's not a lot of flash and dash to him, just good, solid play. And that's the way we need to play to be successful," said Maloney. "There's not a lot of high-end speed, but I think he's a very good player on both sides of the puck."
He's Endorsed by Doan and Playfair: Maloney said he discussed Langkow over lunch with captain Shane Doan(notes), who roomed with him during Langkow's 2001-04 stint with the Coyotes. Doan was "bullish on his game and how he fit in their locker room," according to Maloney. Also polled on Langkow: Phoenix associate head coach and former Flames coach Jim Playfair, who also gave insight to Maloney and, one assumes, his approval.
Stempniak Can Read a Depth Chart: While Maloney wouldn't outright say it, sounds like Stempniak was angling for a change in scenery. He told the Coyotes GM he wanted a more "meaningful role" on the team, which was difficult with Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata(notes) ahead of him on the depth chart. So he gets a fresh start in Calgary, if not exactly a guarantee of a larger role with players like Jarome Iginla(notes), Rene Bourque(notes) and David Moss(notes) on right wing. Still, Maloney said Stemps can "20 goals in a bad year." (Please note he scored 19 in 82 games last season.)
Finally, It Makes Room for the Kids: Call it the Lauri Korpikoski(notes) Theory. Maloney believes that in order to improve as a franchise, young players can't be held back from gaining significant ice time by middling veterans. Korpikoski got his shot last year and blew up. With Stempniak out of the way, Maloney believes players like Mikkel Boedker(notes), Viktor Tikhonov(notes) and Brett MacLean(notes) can do the same. "It'll offer more of an opportunity to get some of our younger players some more meaningful ice time," said Maloney.