Phoenix Coyotes Re-Sign Derek Morris; Michalek Signs With Penguins

The 2010 free-agency period started off with some moving and shaking from the Phoenix Coyotes.

The good: the Yotes re-signed defenseman Derek Morris to what is reportedly a four-year, $11 million deal.

And the bad: Zbynek Michalek, a young and talented defenseman, was snatched away from Phoenix by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While the team locked up a solid defender, they let a better one slip away.

Coyotes' fans probably remember Morris best from his stint with the team from 2004-09. After bouncing around New York and Boston, Morris was re-acquired by the Yotes at the trade deadline last season.

After registering one goal and three assists in 18 games with the team last season, Morris picked up his game in the playoffs. In the seven-game series against the Red Wings, Morris matched his regular season totals with the Yotes by scoring a goal and tallying three helpers.

Morris, 31, is a solid defender who performed well when paired with Keith Yandle and helped the Yotes make their playoff push while adding a veteran presence.

But make no mistake about it. Morris is no Michalek.

The Coyotes failed to secure a deal with their top priority of the offseason, a move that will hurt them come October.

Michalek was one of the most sought-after free agents heading into the offseason. Once he and the Yotes failed to close the deal, other teams pounced, with the Penguins winning out.

Michalek's contract is reportedly for five years and $20 million. While Phoenix would have loved to keep the 27-year-old around to solidify their defense, it simply wasn't possible financially.

Sadly for Yotes fans, this is the nature of the hockey business. In the words of Rolling Stones front-man Mick Jagger: "You can't always get what you want."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eric Smith
Contact: Eric Smith