After a brief stint in St. Louis, blueliner Zbynek Michalek is returning to Arizona.
The Coyotes announced shortly after free agency opened that they have signed the 32-year-old to a two-year deal that will pay him $6.4 million. By landing with Arizona, Michalek is set for his third stint in the organization.
By coming back to Arizona, Michalek will likely come in to continue to tutor the younger defensemen on the club, including the likes of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Michael Stone, Klas Dahlbeck and Connor Murphy.
This past season, the Coyotes dealt Michalek to the Blues at the trade deadline for a third-round selection and Maxim Letunov. Bringing Michalek back into the fold makes it clear just how valued he was by GM Don Maloney, and getting him for a cheaper cap hit than his previous deal is a savvy move by the Coyotes. At his age, he could help the Coyotes transition into their next era, once their stock of young guns is ready to go.
Arizona wasn’t done with the signing of Michalek, however. The club also announced that they have signed Steve Downie to a one-year, $1.75 million deal.
Downie is the type of player who can extremely effective on a third- or fourth-line, but plays with a certain edge that could have him watching from the sidelines at some point during the season. This past season in Pittsburgh, Downie notched 14 goals and 28 points in 72 games, including three goals with the extra man and two game-winners. He also racked up a gaudy 238 penalty minutes, the highest tota of his eight-year career.