By Adam Gretz
TICKET SALES ON THE RISE IN PHOENIX: It may not be quite as impressive as the Buffalo Sabres' record renewal rate, but the Phoenix Coyotes have set their own franchise record for season-ticket renewals. According to the Arizona Republic, the team has sold over 1,000 new season ticket packages this summer and has had a 90-percent renewal rate, the highest mark in the history of the team. All of this despite continued uncertainty in ownership and with the long-term future of the franchise. The Coyotes averaged 12,188 fans per game last season, 29th in the NHL (only the Islanders averaged less). Any improvement is a positive sign at this point.
SURGERY FOR MALONE: The Tampa Bay Lightning reported on their Twitter feed that forward Ryan Malone underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, and he should be ready for the start of training camp. The team claims any reports of him being out four-to-six months are "inaccurate."
BISHOP COMPETING FOR BACKUP ROLE: Ben Bishop and Brian Elliott are set to compete for the backup goaltender spot in St. Louis, and it should simply come down to which player plays the best. Contracts or the salary cap shouldn't play a factor, because as general manager Doug Armstrong said, via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Dispatch, "Two guys, both making the same amount of money, looking for the same job."
STAMKOS HAPPY TO STAY IN TAMPA BAY: After weeks of offer-sheet speculation, the Lightning were finally able to sign restricted free agent Steven Stamkos to a five-year contract last week. Stamkos, as well as general manager Steve Yzerman, talked about the process of finally working out a deal, and the 21-year-old superstar seems happy to stay with the Lightning.