2011-2012 Preview: Phoenix Coyotes

Posted: September 22, 2011 by Realdeal in Phoenix Coyotes, Season Preview
Tags: , , , , , ,

Last season: 43-26-13, 99 points, 6th West, lost in first round to Detroit (4-0)

Additions: RW Boyd Gordon, C Daymond Langkow, C Patrick O’Sullivan, G Mike Smith, LW Raffi Torres

Losses: RW Eric Belanger, G Ilya Bryzgalov, LW Vernon Fiddler, D Ed Jovanovski, RW Lee Stempniak

Offense: The offense is still lead by Shane Doan, who is the last remaining original Phoenix Coyote.  He was the only Coyote to hit the 20 goal mark last year and led the team with 60 points.  The ageless Ray Whitney is still able to be counted on for 15-20 goals.  The offense is scattered with 15 goal scorers such as Lauri Korpikoski, Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal and Taylor Pyatt.  But the roster doesn’t boast anyone who will step up and be a big star for the Coyotes.  Scoring may be at a premium this year for the team, and everyone is going to be counted on to chip in.

Defense: Keith Yandle is one of the best young defensemen in the league.  He hit the 50 point barrier (finished with 59) for the first time and was named to his first all star team. Derek Morris and Adrian Aucoin are solid players, but well past their primes. Youngsters Oliver Ekman-Larsson and David Schlemko will have to log some increased minutes this season.

Goaltending: The team will hurt from the loss of Bryzgalov.  Mike Smith appears to be the starter in Phoenix.  He was a starter in Tampa a few years back, until he was unseated.  He played in 22 games with the Lightning last year Jason Labarbera was also resigned as a backup, but will get a shot at the starting job if Smith falters.

Standout Player:  Shane Doan
Doan is synonymous with the Phoenix Coyotes. He’s been there since day one and a big part of the team since the team moved from Winnipeg. He’s still capable of putting up decent numbers (20 goals, 60 points last season) and is a veteran leader.

Prediction: 5th Pacific, 14th Northwest
The team is going to struggle in the net and with scoring depth. The team is at a crossroads, but management can’t do much with the ownership situation still unsettled.


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