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The Desert Dog Blog: Maloney Explains Trade for Werek

Monday, 05.09.2011 / 4:47 PM / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -- I had a chance to stop by General Manager Don Maloney’s office this morning to chat about a few issues that have surfaced since his end-of-the season press conference.

Here’s what I learned:

Ethan Werek. Photo by Getty Images.
• The Coyotes acquired forward Ethan Werek from the New York Rangers for forward Oscar Lindberg over the weekend to add some size at that position within the organization.

Werek, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, notched 24 goals and 28 assists in 47 regular-season games for Kingsford (OHL) in 2010-11. Lindberg is 6-foot, 187 pounds.

“As we look back at the playoffs and the size in our division and conference, we just think he’s a bigger and stronger player than the player we gave up in Lindberg,” Maloney said. “And, he’s ready to be signed and put into our system.”

Maloney explained he first met Werek about four years ago when Werek and Maloney’s son played together in Tier II Junior Hockey.

“I know him personally and I know his personality, and I think he has the skill and the compete to score at this level,” Maloney said. “Having said that, he’s still a very young player (19) and he’ll need some time in the minors to mature and grow… But as far as I was concerned, getting a bigger centerman into our system was a no-brainer.”

• Maloney plans to talk with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly later this week - after the Glendale City Council meeting on Tuesday night - about the team’s budget for the 2011-12 season. With 14 players set to become unrestricted or restricted free agents on July 1, Maloney has some work to do.

Don Maloney. Photo by Norm Hall.
He’s also eager to replace Associate Coach Ulf Samuelsson, who recently left the team to become head coach of MODO in the Swedish Elite League. Maloney told me about 20 coaches have reached out to him about replacing Samuelsson, but three – whom he did not name – are on his short list.

Maloney said the ideal candidate is a coach that can teach and motivate the team’s young defensemen, such as Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and David Schlemko.

• Maloney said he has been impressed by how well Ekman-Larsson (Sweden), Mikkel Boedker (Denmark) and Andy Miele (United States) have played at the IIHF World Championship in Slovakia.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Boedker notched three goals and one assist in six World Championship games for Denmark, which finished in 11th place out of 16 teams. Sweden and the United States have advanced to the quarterfinals.

FYI, Maloney said Ekman-Larsson did not play in Sweden’s games on Saturday or Monday because of a minor wrist injury, but he is expected to play in Sweden’s next game – a quarterfinal matchup vs. Germany later this week.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Reach Dave Vest at thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.
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