Great One Has Coyotes Howling

The Phoenix Coyotes are one of the many franchises in financial trouble in the NHL. However that has not stopped them from building a quality hockey team soon ready to compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

While having Wayne Gretzky as part owner and coach brings the team notoriety, many in the hockey world are taking notice of the team’s young core and how quickly the team has shifted from laughingstock to playoff contender.

GM Don Maloney has continued the building from within approach the team started just before he was hired and he has continued to add quality young assets to the organization. But he also managed to find that elusive player to play nets and in the off season added a star forward as perhaps the final big piece to the puzzle to turn the Coyotes into a playoff team.

Now its up to coach Gretzky to continue improving this young squad. The team took major strides last year cutting off over half a goal a game from their goals against in 2007, improving special teams and just molding the team as a more efficient smart unit. Indeed, the acquisition of Bryzgalov as a trustworthy goaltender has brought confidence to the team, but Gretzky has really passionately led this team and been a fine teacher behind the bench.

Now, with the youngsters having a bit of experience, mixed in with some real quality veterans, the Yotes are a team on the rise. Will it be enough?


The Yotes are buying into a defensive system and if the kids improve and Jokinen can boost the offence, good times are ahead in Phoenix.

C: Olli Jokinen, Kyle Turris, Martin Hanzal, Joel Perrault,
RW: Shane Doan, Peter Mueller, Brian McGrattan,
LW: Steven Reinprecht, Daniel Winnik, Dan Carillo, Todd Fedoruk,

Jokinen may be the longest serving veteran player to not play a playoff game, but he brings offence and that should help boost the Yotes who have been rather middle of the road the last few years. He is a point per game player and he gives Phoenix a legitimate number 1 centre.

His presence should help boost the team’s young core. Turris, a highly touted rookie, should fit in nicely as the number 2 centre without the pressure of carrying the team immediately. Hanzal also will face less pressure as a sophmore as he continues to hon his all around game. Him at 6’5 and Jokinen equally as big should provide quality muscle up the middle. Mueller stands to benefit the most from Jokinen as they will likely play together on the top line. Mueller is perhaps their most talented sniper and looks to build on a solid rookie season.

Captain Doan as well will benefit from Jokinen being around. He will finally have some help offensively plus will benefit from the additional leadership Jokinen will bring. Doan has been terrific leading the Coyotes and getting them to buy into Gretzky’s plan. Invigorated by the success of the team, Doan enjoyed his best season and may surpass that this year with more talent around him.

The Yotes are one of the league’s biggest teams up front but the 5’11 Carcillo is their physical leader. With McGrattan and Fedoruk around, Carcillo will be asked to fight less, but still agitate and be aggressive. With him, Doan, Mueller, Jokinen, Winnik, there are plenty of players willing to throw their weight around making Phoenix that much more difficult to play against.

D: Ed Jovanovski, Zbeynek Michalek, Derek Morris, Kurt Sauer, Keith Yandle, David Hale, Matt Jones

Jovanovski had a great comeback season last year after a bad beginning to his career as a Coyote. He showed the grit, heart and offensive ability that made him a multi time All Star in Vancouver. Along with Morris, the team has two quality veteran players to lead the top two pairs. Morris is adept at moving the puck and is a great skater but is asked mostly to play a defensive role.

Sauer should help replace some of the minutes lost with Ballard gone and provide a big stabilizing influence on defence. His size and reach should help the team on the PK which was average last season. Hale also offers a bit of size and decent defensive play.

Michalek and Yandle along with Jovanovski give thet team 3 good offensemen. There are high hopes Yandle can be a solid point producer. If he can shore up his defensive game, he should get the kind of playing time he needs to produce.

G: Ilya Bryzgalov, Mikael Tellqvist

The turnaround of the Coyotes coincided with the arrival of Bryzgalov. A steal off waivers, Ilya provided the kind of steady, reliable goaltending this young team needed. Armed with a long term extension and the assurances of being a number 1 netminder, Bryzgalov should continue to florish. Tellqvist provides a reliable backup who can handle a short workload but isnt quite up to the task of being a top number 1 netminder.


F: Alex Bourret, Steve Goertzen, Chad Kolarik, Olivier Latendresse, Alex Leavitt, Francis Lessard, Derek Nesbitt, Jeff Hoggan, Garth Murray, Mike Zigomanis
D: Drew Fata, Dylan Reese, Sean Sullivan, Ryan Lannon
G: Josh Tordjman


After being a franchise that was perennially weak at the draft, the turnaround has been significant and now the Coyotes are armed with very solid young talent.

F: Mikael Boedker, Brett MacLean, Victor Tikhonov, Kevin Porter, Jarred Staal, Envir Lisin, Benn Ferriero
D: Chris Summers, Nick Ross, Michael Stone, Jonas Ahnelov
G: Al Montoya, Joel Gistedt

Their two recent top picks, Boedker and Tikhonov are already on the verge of cracking the Coyote’s lineup. Boedker is only 18 but is a highly skilled offensive winger and with the Yotes looking for some help on the left side, Boedker could fill the bill. He showed more playmaking prowess in junior but has the ability to be a top sniper. Tikhonov is a late bloomer. At age 20, he is probably NHL ready after some time spent in the Russian Pro league. He brings size and skill and is a smart all around player.

Here are some of the Coyotes other prospects:

Al Montoya – knocking on the door. Very big, athletic netminder
Brett McLean – junior scoring star proved he could do it without Tavares
Envir Lisin – Tremendous speed, still needs extensive work defensively
Chris Summers – Solid defensive blueliner in 3rd year in College
Kevin Porter – Hobey Baker winner is smart offensive minded forward

There’s lots of depth in the system and if the team is close, they could perhaps use this depth to acquire some immediate help rather than be sellers come Trade Deadline time.

Prediction – 8th in the West, 17th overall

There is plenty of good happening in Phoenix and the Yotes have emerged as one of the best up and coming teams in the league. Unfortunately not many care to notice and if they dont want to get interested, its their loss. This is an exciting group that could do some really good things for years to come. Gretzky has proven superstars can coach and he is a huge reason for the turnaround. But the commitment of the team to turn to youth, get younger and more skilled and slowly but surely build towards something great is starting to reap some rewards. Those rewards could be their 1st playoff since 2002.

19 Responses to Great One Has Coyotes Howling

  1. Radio says:

    What kind of qualifications do you need to be considered an "HTR Expert"?

    Do you have to, like, go to college for it?

  2. cam7777 says:

    This year won't be their year.  It will be too hard for four teams from that division to make the finals, and Phoenix will be the odd team out.  Next season, when Zubov is too old, Anaheim loses Niedermeyer, and San Jose is younger on the back-end (without Blake most likely), they will have a better chance. 

    Also, when the Yotes were in Winnipeg last week, Gretzky said on the radio that his top line will be:


    for the start of the season, so I don't expect Mueller to play right wing anymore….

  3. mojo19 says:

    No, you have to write a lot of solid articles I think

  4. mojo19 says:

    Mueller is dirty, I like the idea of trying him with the veteran big guns.

    Coyotes could be a wild card to make it but here are the playoff contention teams:

    Central: Detroit – lock
    Chicago – should be in the mix
    Nashville, St.Louis, Columbus – doubtful

    NorthWest: Calgary, Minnesota, Edmonton – Should be in the mix
    Colorado, Vancouver – Doubtful

    Pacific: Dallas, San Jose – locks
    Anaheim – should be in the mix
    LA – doubtful

    So right there I highlighted 8 teams who should all be competitive, but there are always surprise flops and surging teams. Phoenix could be a Wild card, I'd say they're in very much in the mix. Just need Bryz to steal a couple, and the young guys to keep getting better.

  5. Kramer says:

    Just like when chasing the road runner, something is gonna go wrong again for the coyotes.

  6. Kramer says:

    I'm gonna send an article too cuz I wanna be an expert.

  7. assman says:

    coyotes blow, gretzky sucks, doan is a douchbag, and they all suck. that's my analysis

  8. assman says:

    kramer you're a fruit cake. what possible expert story can you write?

  9. pezzz says:

    sorry, but I can't agree on this one. Their playoff spot lies on too many *if*s.

    IF Turris plays as a rookie of the year
    IF Jokinen meshes well with Doan
    IF Mueller doesn't get sophomore slump
    IF Bryzgalov plays like a true #1 (he has the potential, but never played
    more than 55 games in a season so far and only twice more than 30)
    If Jovanovski stays healthy (big IF)
    IF the D can stay solid even without Ballard and Boynton
    IF Boedkker plays up to his potential
    IF Daniel Carcillo can repeat his point totals of last year (and improve)

    a lot too many IF…..
    their D took a step back with the departures of Ballard and Boynton. Suaer is a fine d-man, but nothing more than a 3rd pairing. Yandle isn't exactly a top guy yet, and Hale sucks very bad.
    On forward, Jokinen/Turris should be a decent one-two punch (still, it remains to be seen), but they lack a lot of depth on the wings. Doan is very good, Mueller should play well too (watch out sophomore slump), but after that, there's close to nothing. I'm not sure Boedkker is ready for top 6 minutes yet, Carcillo is more valuable on a checking line and for god's sake, they should leave Fedoruk on the bottom lines. Reinprecht is not a top 6 guy anymore, nor is Winnik or Hanzal.
    So they lack depth on D, on forward and in goal if Bryzgalov can't repeat his breakout year.

    I think you placed the Hawks 10th a couple days ago? Switch them with the Yotes, and I'll agree. Hawks 8th, Yotes 10th.

  10. mojo19 says:

    He can write about conspiracy theories. OBVIOUSLY. Where you been assman? Kramers conspiracy theories are through the roof and he has insider connections with the guy who works at the hot dog stand outside the ACC.

  11. Radio says:

    Kramer! You told me he works INSIDE the ACC!

    Next week he will probably be working in the parking lot.

  12. mojo19 says:

    Turris doesn't have to be rookie of the year, but if he can put up 50-something pts and provide some secondary scoring that will help a lot.

    Jokinen and Doan not worried about at all. Mueller is a big IF for sure, so is Bryz, Jovo.
    I think Carcillo will be effective whether he's scoring or not.

  13. mojo19 says:

    Maybe it is inside, that's my bad.

  14. pezzz says:

    that's the sausage vendor?

  15. Bure96 says:

    Keep in mind Vancouver is 5-0 in preseason. , and beat Calgary 6-1 last night without the Sedins, Bernier and there top 4 defensemen.

    That 2nd line looked DOMINANT against Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regher. Mason Raymond burned Phaneuf really badly three times last night, and got a great goal yesterday. Raymond, Demitra, and Pyatt have been exceptional playing with each other. Bernier and the twins have showed good chemistry too, so this is a great sign. Jannik Hansen also scored 2 goals yesterday, and should play with Kes, and Burrows on the 3rd line.

    I now it's only preseason, but still you guys should keep an eye on them.

  16. Hockey_Insider says:

    Gretzky said he'd like to have a line of Boedker, Turris and Fedoruk. Can't remember where I heard it, but I remember him saying it.

  17. mojo19 says:

    Sure what the hell, throw them in the mix too.

    But I hope they lose every game until they admit Luongo as captain was a dumb thing to do.

  18. LEAFSLEAFSLEAFS1967 says:

    Wow this is probably one of the most impressive teams I've seen in Phoenix in my recent memory. We've already heard that Mueller, Jokinen, and Doan will make up the top line. Turris will get his shot as the 2nd line center. I don't think there are enough top 6 forwards on the team to keep Hanzal on the 3rd line. I would make Boedker fight very hard for a spot on the 2nd line, possibly alternating his spot on the 2nd line with Hanzal's 3rd line spot. Then bring up Tikhonov to the 2nd line on the right side as well to make a very young 2nd line with loads of potential. Enver Lisin and Carcilo should make up the wingers on the 3rd line, and for the fourth line you have Perrault, Winnik, Reinprecht, McGrattan, and Fedoruk to alternate in the lineup.

    Here's what the lineup would look like:

    Mueller – Jokinen – Doan
    Boedker – Turris – Tikhonov
    Carcillo – Hanzal – Lisin
    McGrattan – Reinprecht – Fedoruk

    Extras: Winnik/Perrault

    Morris – Jovanovski
    Michalek – Yandle
    Sauer – Jones

    Extras: Hale


    Overall i think 7th or 8th in the west is a reasonable prediction for this team, and in the years to come they will gain more skill and experience. I think in about 2 or 3 years this will be a team in serious competion for lord stanley's cup.

  19. hockeyhead says:

    gonna old time hockey out in the desert

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