Arizona Coyotes In Win-Now Mode After Roster Overhaul

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Arizona general manager John Chayka has taken the Coyotes’ rebuilding process a step forward this season with a new look at nearly every level.
 
It was announced in early June that owner Andrew Barroway was buying out minority owners, and his first move as the sole proprietor was reportedly telling the 28-year-old Chayka -- the youngest GM in NHL history -- that longtime captain and beloved Arizona player Shane Doan was not welcome back to the team.
 
Doan, should he head to a contending team in search for his first Stanley Cup, is coming off a year in which he scored six goals in 74 games. The desert dogs have focused on both youth and the future, which meant not involving the near 41-year-old in their business strategy.
 
Shortly after the announcement of the team’s departure from the fan favorite Doan, who was offered a front office job, the team let go of another longtime cog in head coach Dave Tippett.
 
Tippett was brought in in September of 2009 to replace Wayne Gretzky and had been at the helm for the previous eight seasons. Tippett’s resume showed success at nearly every level, and he led the financially struggling franchise to three straight playoff berths and the Western Conference Finals in 2012, where it fell to the eventual champion Los Angeles Kings.
 
The 2010 Jack Adams winner is among the most accomplished coaches on the market and will likely be a leading candidate when the first round of firings happen in 2017-18.
 
With the 2017 NHL Entry Draft just days away, the inexperienced Chayka, who was hired in May of last year, was heading into draft weekend amid the organization’s shakeup and was proverbially staring adversity right in the face. 
 
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Chayka put the wheels in motion by trading starting goalie Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames for pending free agent Chad Johnson, defensive prospect Brandon Hickey, and a conditional 2018 draft pick.
 
He then pulled yet another savvy move in his short tenure and landed both a legitimate No. 1 center and Smith’s replacement from the New York Rangers for the seventh overall pick and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo. In exchange, Chayka brought in Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta, who has showed the capabilities of being a No. 1 netminder in recent years as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup.
 
Chayka followed it up with another deal, bringing in defensive stalwart and three-time Stanley Cup champion Niklas Hjalmarsson from the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Connor Murphy and center Laurent Dauphin. A stay-at-home blue-liner, Hjalmarsson is expected to slot in alongside fellow Swede Oliver Ekman-Larsson to act as a safe haven for the offensively inclined defender.
 
The Coyotes were also among the fortunate teams in the expansion draft, losing AHL stud and NHL fringe player Teemu Pulkkinen to Vegas. Things have been going right for Arizona this summer, even after its planned deal with Arizona State University for a shared arena fell through.
 
The trade-off of youthful promise for established talent means Barroway and Chayka are in win-now mode and want to pull the franchise away from the bottom dwellers and endless relocation rumors.
 
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Chayka has put together a solid lineup that appears ready to push for a playoff spot in the near future. However, the team will be up against division opponents Los Angeles, San Jose, Calgary, Anaheim, and Edmonton, each of which has taken significant steps forward in recent years.
 
Chayka will likely search for another depth signing at forward before the season begins. The loss of leadership, experience, and production between Doan, Smith, Martin Hanzal, and Radim Vrbata will be a hit to the lineup.
 
That doesn’t include the loss of Ryan White, Peter Holland, Alexander Burmistrov, or Josh Jooris, who played significant time for the team last season.
 
Too many changes can be a bad thing, but the Coyotes remain focused on the end goal of injecting youth into their lineup and being a fast, skilled team for years to come.
 
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

Wisconsin Men's Hockey Skates To 7-3 Win Over Michigan

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Release provided by University of Wisconsin Athletics

MADISON, Wis. – Freshman defenseman Josh Ess scored 33 seconds into the game, and Wisconsin (8-5-1, 3-2-0 Big Ten) never looked back in its 7-3 victory over Michigan (6-4-1, 2-2-1 Big Ten) on Friday at the Kohl Center.

Michigan State’s Mitchell Lewandowski Thriving In Freshman Year

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By Jacob Messing

When Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos announced his recruiting class last November, he wasn’t aware he’d never coach it.

Anastos stepped down after his sixth season, believing his five-year plan from 2011 wasn’t seeing progress. One of the consequences was not getting to see how his final recruiting class panned out, including current leading scorer Mitchell Lewandowski.

No. 7 Minnesota Hoping To Roll Past Lowly St. Cloud State

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By Jacob Messing

When the 2-10-0 St. Cloud State Huskies visit Minneapolis this weekend, they’ll be crashing head-first into a veritable steam engine train. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are not only ranked in the top 10, posting a 9-4-1 record over the year, but the hosts are also riding on the fuel of two consecutive series sweeps.

FloHockey will stream the battle live when the puck drops for the first game, Friday at 7 PM EST, and the second game, Saturday at 5 PM.

Wisconsin Men’s Hockey Inks 8 In Early Signing Period

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Press release via Wisconsin Athletics.

MADISON, Wisconsin – Head coach Tony Granato and his Wisconsin men's hockey coaching staff announced Thursday the signing of eight individuals to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period.

No. 17 Michigan Gaining Momentum Ahead Of Trip To No. 9 Wisconsin

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By Jacob Messing

The battle of the Great Lakes between newly ranked Michigan and top-10 Wisconsin could be over in the first 20 minutes — and not because of a blowout.

Drop The Hammer: Legal And Not-So-Legal NHL Hits

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By Jacob Messing

Last week, FloHockey brought you a collaboration of some of the biggest hits from the past couple weeks.

High And Wide: Rangers, Rivals, and Roughed-Up Ducks

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By Jacob Messing

The Red Wings lost their first shootout in 14 games, the New Jersey Devils continue to win, and Auston Matthews has missed three straight games.

The New York Rangers began the season 1-6-1, an excruciatingly slow start as goaltender Henrik Lundqvist struggled to make up for his team’s defensive lapses and lack of scoring.

Michigan State Splits With No. 7 Wisconsin In Big Ten Men’s Hockey

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By Jacob Messing

It was the worst of games, it was the best of games.

Michigan State’s series with Wisconsin was a tale of two days for the Spartans, who on Friday lost a wild 6-3 shootout to the Badgers only to turn around and smash a 2-0 shutout of their opponents at home in East Lansing, Michigan.

Badgers Suffer Setback Against Spartans, Fall 2-0 In Series Finale

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EAST LANSING, Mich.— The No. 7/10 Wisconsin men’s hockey team will head back to Madison with a series split, falling to Michigan State, 2-0, in the weekend finale on Saturday night.

Wisconsin Scores Season-High Six Goals Against Michigan State

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