GLENDALE – Most NHL players in July are enjoying time away from the rinks after a long season. That’s not the case for new Coyotes forward David Moss, whom Phoenix signed on Sunday soon after the NHL free-agent signing period began.
“I’m probably more excited than anybody to get back on the ice for real,” Moss told me Sunday morning via telephone. “…I’m going to a team that is established and certainly has a chance at making a run (for the Stanley Cup). I’m really happy to be going there.”
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Moss also can’t wait for next season to start because he has played only 90 games for the Calgary Flames the past two seasons because of injuries. Last year he missed 50 games because of an ankle injury he suffered after blocking a shot in November.
“I’m pretty eager to play an 82-game season,” Moss said. “My ankle is fine now, it feels great. I’ve been training and skating and it feels fine.”
Moss played 81 games in 2008-09 and scored a career-high 20 goals. In 317 NHL games, he’s lit the lamp 61 times.
“I don’t know what line I’ll be on but hopefully I can add something on the power play,” Moss said when asked what role he’d play offensively for Phoenix. “In past years I’ve been fairly productive on the power play when given a chance in front of the net.”
Moss said he’s excited to play for Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett and Associate Coach Jim Playfair, who watched Moss break into the NHL with Calgary as his head coach in 2006-07.
“I talked to Dave Tippett briefly today and that’s one of the things that we talked about, you know, just being responsible and doing the right things and playing the right way,” Moss said. “I think that’s something Phoenix does well and why they’ve had success.”
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Moss, 30, was an unrestricted free agent for only a short time on Sunday. Sensing a good deal, Moss agreed to a two-year contract with the Coyotes – the first team that called his agent – pretty quickly.
"David's a great competitor," Playfair said. "He's got a real passion to be a top player in the NHL... He's a strong player, he's very good in wall battles, and he can get pucks to the net and he's got the ability to finish. Overall, he really fits in to our disciplined style of play."
Playfair said he expects Moss to develop into an even better player with the Coyotes.
"This is a rebirth for him," Playfair said. "This is his second organization and I think he feels he has something to prove - that he can be an everyday player and a healthy player, and that he can help teams win. I think that 's what's motivating him and it's really going to serve us well."
Playfair isn’t the only face Moss will recognize when he walks into Jobing.com Arena for the first time. Moss and Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle know each other well from their time with Team USA at the 2010 IIHF World Championship.
Moss was born in Livonia, Mich., and he lives there in the off-season. Livonia also produced Mike Modano and Ryan Kesler.
Also on Sunday, the Coyotes added golatending depth by signing Chad Johnson to a one-year, two-way contract. Click here for more details.