Mike Smith arrived in Phoenix last summer with a modest contract but a hefty task – replace a guy who just signed a $51 million contract. Smith proved up to the task, and in turn the Coyotes didn't miss Ilya Bryzgalov.
A year later, another of the Coyotes' stars is gone -- and another guy on a low-risk deal has arrived to help replace him.
Ray Whitney was spectacular for Phoenix last season, posting 24 goals and a team-high 77 points. He signed a two-year contract with Dallas, where he will join forces with Jaromir Jagr and try to help the Stars back into the playoffs.
To keep the Coyotes in the NHL's postseason party, Phoenix has to replace to Whitney's offense (not to mention possibly Shane Doan's as well because he remains unsigned). General manager Don Maloney signed Steve Sullivan to a one-year, $1.85 million pact, and Sullivan could fit in Whitney’s place in the lineup.
"He's a very similar player to Ray Whitney," Maloney told Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. "A little smaller player, but very good skill, good power-play skill. So when we lost Ray, there were only a couple names we really could fill a skill position [with], and he was one of them."