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Coyotes add depth with July 1 signings

Andy Miele, Aaron Ness and Beau Bennett have been signed to two-way contracts

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf /

Adding to its pool of players, the Coyotes agreed to terms with three names earlier in the week on the first day of free agency to shore up organizational depth: Andy Miele, Aaron Ness, and Beau Bennett.

The outlook in regard to the additions revolves around competition, all three of the aforementioned players were signed to two-way contracts. Miele and Ness to two-year deals, Bennett for the coming season.

"What we've seen, and especially last year with our group, is that teams that make it deep have depth, and you need internal competition," said President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka.

Miele spent three years in the Arizona organization from 2011-14, appearing in 15 NHL games with the Coyotes. The 31-year-old forward is a prolific scorer at the American Hockey League level, eclipsing the 50-point total in each of his six AHL seasons played, including a pair of 70-plus point campaigns.

Ness is your prototypical offensive defenseman. The 29-year-old has spent his past four seasons in the Washington Capitals organization, where he's coming off of a 55-point year with the AHL's Hershey Bears. He has 47 NHL games on his resume.

"He's looking for an opportunity, he wanted to sign with a team that was going to able him the chance to make the big roster," said Assistant General Manager Steve Sullivan. "He's an outstanding American Hockey League player, year-by-year his numbers stand for themselves, and he wants an opportunity and we feel like we're in a position where we can enable that and allow him the opportunity to come in and compete for a job."

A balance of experience encapsulates Bennett's professional career thus far, having played in 200 NHL games and over 100 in the AHL. The 27-year-old registered 57 points in his last full season in 2017-18 with the Chicago Wolves.

"We're hoping and expecting that these guys come in ready to compete for a spot at the NHL level, be ready at training camp to push everyone else and make us make some tough decisions," Chayka added. "We think highly of all the guys we signed obviously and we think they have a chance to come in and make their impacts and to create that depth for us that we're going to need to have success."

Full-fledged depth will always recognize more than just the NHL roster, and for the Coyotes, that has meant consistent ties with the players that dress the Tucson Roadrunners' lineup.

"I think Tucson's been a big success story for us, not only in our ability to grow our players and develop our players, but to develop a winning culture and have that depth," said Chayka. "We've had a number of people come through, the Bunting's, the Kempe's, those types of guys who are pushing for spots and creating that internal competition and ultimately found some NHL games."

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