The Phoenix Coyotes still don't have a new owner, but the team made a move on Friday that should help bring some stability to their infrastructure. The Coyotes announced that general manager and executive vice president Don Maloney has been signed to a long-term contract extension.
Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
Maloney's contract was due to end June 30, which would have essentially made him a free-agent executive.
"We are very pleased that Don has agreed to sign a long-term contract extension with the Coyotes," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in a statement. "Since joining the team in 2007, Don has done an outstanding job managing his team and building a competitive roster that has produced on the ice, even given less-than-ideal circumstances off the ice."
“I am grateful to continue working for this franchise," said Maloney. "We have a strong core of talented people, both on and off the ice, who are committed to building a championship team and a first-class organization.”
Maloney has had the unenviable task of trying to retain players and lure free agents with an unstable ownership situation, but he has managed to keep the Coyotes competitive. In his six seasons, Phoenix has compiled a 230-172-56 regular-season record and is just a year removed from an appearance in the Western Conference finals. Maloney won the NHL's General Manager of the Year Award for his work during 2009-10.
With such a difficult situation, no one would fault Maloney if he would have let his contract ride out and looked for something else. He'd have no shortage of suitors, but his staying is a great reflection of his commitment to an organization with the chips continually stacked against it. The deal also says something about the NHL's outlook for the franchise that it's currently maintaining.
"The NHL remains committed to securing the Coyotes' future in Glendale under new ownership, and we believe Don's long-term agreement evidences that he is equally committed," Daly said in the team release.
Retaining Maloney and ensuring there will be some sort of stability at the top of the organization could smoothe out the process of selling the team for the NHL. Recent reports have suggested the NHL is nearing a deal with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment.
Now that Maloney's deal is finalized, the Coyotes still have major decisions to make in the near future with the contracts of head coach Dave Tippett and goaltender Mike Smith about to expire on June 30.
Though more has to be sorted out with the ownership situation before the team can make more significant moves, there will at least will be a general manager to help facilitate that.