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The Desert Dog Blog: Updates on Hot Topics

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – Some quick updates on some hot topics:

► Contrary to an internet report, Coyotes prospect Viktor Tikhonov has not contacted General Manager Don Maloney and asked for a trade.

“This is the Internet at its worst,” Maloney told me on Monday. “I have no idea where this information has come from. We have had not one trade conversation with Viktor Tikhonov nor has he ever approached us about not playing for us. We expect him to come here and win a roster spot in September. Those reports couldn’t be more false.”

On a side note, I again advise fans to pick which web sites they turn to for news about the Coyotes very carefully. Many sites are self-proclaimed hockey news outlets maintained by non-credentialed members of the media. In other words, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!

► The Coyotes had several conversations with Lee Stempniak’s agent last week and would still like to sign him to a one-year contract at the right price. I’m told Stempniak, an unrestricted free agent who scored 14 goals in 18 regular-season games but zero goals in seven playoff games for the Coyotes, would prefer a deal longer than one year.

“We’re having discussions and I think we have a 50-50 chance to sign Lee,” Maloney said. “We’d love to have him back. I think he fits with us and would help our offense.”

► Center Martin Hanzal, a restricted free agent, remains unsigned.

Martin Hanzal
“We're not as close as I thought we’d be at this stage but we hope we can have Marty here at training camp,” Maloney said.

The negotiations are focused on Hanzal’s new salary, not the length of the deal.

Hanzal and the other veteran players are expected to report to training camp on Sept. 17, but he won't be there if a new contract isn't in place.

“We’re working at it and remain optimistic we can get something done soon," Maloney said. "...Missing even a day of training camp is not good for the player or the team.”

► Earlier this off-season the Coyotes were looking for another defenseman in the free-agent market. Now it appears the team is content to let one of its prospects fill the void left by Zbynek Michalek, who bolted to Pittsburgh via free agency.

Maxim Goncharov, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Chris Summers and Brandon Gormley likely will get long looks at camp.

“We’re not overly anxious to sign another defenseman,” Maloney said. “As I sit here today it looks like we’ll go into camp with what we have. We had some discussion with Willie Mitchell’s reps but I think he’s going to go elsewhere. That’s OK because we have a number of players already that we need to see in training camp and see how they’ve progressed.”

► Defenseman Kurt Sauer, who missed all but one game last season because of a mysterious upper-body injury that has produced concussion-like and whiplash-like symptoms, is not expected to pass the team’s physical at the start of camp or play in 2010-11.

► Forward Lauri Korpikoski has switched his sweater number from No. 29 to No. 28.

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