Captain Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes needs to perform admirably for this season to be a success for the Coyotes
The Phoenix Coyotes season in 2013 is tough to predict due to the shortened nature caused by the lockout. If the Coyotes are going to duplicate their success from last season, it will be due to the following ten players and their performances this season.
If these ten chosen players can perform well, the Coyotes have a chance to make waves in the Western Conference. If not, then the playoffs are a pipe dream and the early tee times and vacations will be set for the disappointed squad out of Phoenix.
Moss was brought in to provide some secondary scoring for the Coyotes this season.
2012 Statistics- 32 games, 2 goals, 7 assists, 9 points- plus/minus- -3
2013 Prediction- 42 games, 7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points- plus/minus- -2
Moss was brought in from Calgary to provide some size and secondary scoring for the 'Yotes. Most of the season, the 31-year-old forward will play on the third line but will get chances to play in front of the net on the power play. That is where he will have to cash in on his opportunities.
The 6'4, 207 lbs. wing needs to stay healthy. He has missed huge portions of the last two seasons only playing in 90 of 182 possible games. If he can stay healthy, he can contribute in a big way for the squad this season.
Moss is off to a good start this season, scoring two points (one goal, one assist) in his first three games with the Desert Dogs.
Lombardi will look to use his speed and his grit to put pucks in the net for the Coyotes this season
2012 Statistics- 62 games, 8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points- plus/minus- -19
2013 Prediction- 44 games, 7 goals, 12 assists, 19 points- plus/minus- +2
The ultra-quick Lombardi played his best season of hockey of his professional career in Phoenix during the 2009-10 season. The 5'11, 195 lbs. center put up 53 points in 78 games that season and will look to duplicate his success from his previous stint in the Valley of the Sun.
Lombardi has the talent and hands to still score at this level. He was hurt at times over the past few seasons and has played only 64 games in the last two NHL campaigns.
One thing that he will have to do to get on the ice in Phoenix is tighten up his defensive play. Coach Dave Tippett is always tough on those who shirk their defensive responsibilities and a minus 19 rating will not cut it in the desert.
Lombardi is fresh and ready to make a difference. The eight-year veteran will be looking to establish himself as a offensive threat this season for Phoenix. He is off to a decent start, recording two assists in his first three games this season.
The Coyotes Martin Hanzal battles for the puck in a recent game against the Chicago Blackhawks
2012 Statistics- 64 games, 8 goals, 26 assists, 34 points, plus/minus- -2
2013 Predictions- 41 games, 6 goals, 13 assists, 19 points, plus/minus- 0
Martin Hanzal needs to have a bigger season than I am predicting to get critics off of his back. For the last two seasons, the 6'6, 235-pound center has missed lengthy periods of time due to injury.
The 25-year-old has played 125 of the last 164 games and has never lived up to his full potential in a Coyotes sweater. He is a good defensive center, but he needs to improve his game on the offensive end and start producing points and a more physical style of play.
He is a valuable part of this team for his size and his ability to play in all facets of the game. He helps center the second line and his scoring will be needed to help this team make a run deep in the playoffs.
But, he has to stay healthy for that to happen and he has already been scratched from a game this season due to a lower body injury which forced him to miss the Columbus game last night.
He has one goal and one assist in two games for the Coyotes so far this season, but is a minus two when it comes to his plus/minus rating. His status is day-to-day with his injury.
The Coyotes Oliver Ekman-Larsson is quickly becoming one of the best all-around defenseman in the NHL
2012 Statistics- 82 games, 13 goals, 19 assists, 32 points- plus/minus- 0
2013 Prediction- 46 games, 10 goals, 13 assists, 23 points- plus/minus- +6
Ekman-Larsson is fast becoming one of the elite defensemen in the NHL. His rapid rise can only be attested to the fact that he is a quick learner from his colleagues on the squad.
The 21-year-old Swede has one of the best poke checks in the game already, his defensive positioning is sound and he has learned how to jump in the play from guys like Keith Yandle, evidenced by his two goals last night against Columbus, both which were scored on the rush.
He has a lightning-quick snap wrist shot, is a fluid skater and can play in all situations. The 6'2, 190 lbs. defenseman has two goals and one assist in his first three games and looks even more comfortable on the ice this year as he is paired with defensive standout Zybnek Michalek.
This should give him more room to roam and expect to see Ekman-Larsson jumping into the play more often this season.
The Phoenix Coyotes Steve Sullivan gets in position to score against Columbus last evening
2012 Statistics- 79 games- 17 goals, 31 assists, 48 points, Plus/Minus -1
2013 Stat Prediction- 45 games, 9 goals, 18 assists, 27 points, Plus/Minus- +2
The Coyotes need secondary scoring and Sullivan can provide that if given the ice time. The 5'9, 161 lbs. right wing will be playing on the top two lines for the 'Yotes and should receive that ice time.
He is already off to a good start with three points (all goals) in his first three games as he recorded his 8th hat trick of his career against Columbus last evening.
Sullivan has always been a plus player when playing with defensively minded teams and the Coyotes are as defensively minded as you get.
The 38-year-old Sullivan will end up a plus player because he hustles around the ice and gets himself in position to back check. He is a very defensively responsible player as seen with his plus 104 rating throughout his 17-year NHL career
The Phoenix Coyotes Keith Yandle is one of the top offensive defenseman in the game today.
2012 Statistics- 82 games, 11 goals, 32 assists, 43 points- plus/minus- +5
2013 Prediction- 46 games, 8 goals, 19 assists, 27 points- plus/minus- +7
Yandle is one of, if not the best, offensive defenseman in hockey. His ability to move into open space, especially in transition, gives him the opportunities to cash in on the offensive end. The 26-year-old defenseman scored all 11 of his goals in even strength situations, most of which were in transition on odd-man rushes.
What went unnoticed last season, was his improvement at the defensive end. His plus five rating was down from his previous two season, but it made three seasons in a row that the defenseman registered a plus/minus rating in the positives.
The 6'1, 190 lbs. Boston native has a great slap shot from the point, his wrist shot is pretty accurate and he has great vision which allows him to spread the puck around when he serves as the quarterback on the power play.
He is off to a quick start registering two assists in the first three games of the season.
Captain Shane Doan's physical style of play has endeared him to the Phoenix fans
2012 Statistics- 79 games- 22 goals, 28 assists, 50 points, plus/minus- -2
2013 Predictions- 46 games- 13 goals, 16 assists, 29 points, plus/minus- -4
Doan is still productive at the ripe old age of 36. He put up 50 points last season and is producing a point a game in the early season after three games.
His physical play and his grinding and mucking along the boards allow him to create opportunities for his teammates. His powerful slap shot helps him score goals on the power play and in transition.
He is durable and rugged and while he may have lost a step over the past few seasons, he still is serviceable as a top two-line forward. The 6'1, 236 lbs. forward has to continue to be productive for the Coyotes to be successful this season
The Phoenix Coyotes Mikkel Boedker needs to fulfill his potential and be among the team leaders in scoring if the Coyotes want to replicate last season's success
2012 Statistics- 82 games, 11 goals, 13 assists, 24 points- plus/minus- -2
2013 Prediction- 46 games, 14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points- plus/minus- +6
This is Boedker's year to shine for the Coyotes. After coming off of a good playoff performance (8 points) last season, Boedker is primed for big things. His speed and puck handling are his greatest assets and he needs to use them to score points in transition.
The 6'0, 206 lbs. wing is durable and will need to maneuver himself into scoring positions more often during the cycle if he is to achieve this type of success. He will need to grind along the boards frequently and work with his mates on the first line to ensure that he puts himself in the best positions to score, specifically on the power play.
Boedker needs to have a breakout year to help replace the departed Ray Whitney as one of the team's top playmakers. The 23-year-old Danish product is off to a good start as well, scoring on a point per game basis after three games (three assists).
The Coyotes Radim Vrbata lead the team in scoring last season and will look to repeat the feat this year.
2012 Statistics- 77 games, 35 goals, 27 assists, 62 points, plus/minus- +24
2013 Prediction- 45 games, 20 goals, 16 assists, 36 points, plus/minus- +14
Vrbata seems to thrive in a Coyotes uniform as he posted his three best goal scoring seasons in the red and white. His 35 goal-season last year was a career best and he will look to keep lighting the lamp, especially on the power play as he serves as the 'Yotes resident sniper.
His plus/minus rating last season reflects his conscious effort to play more of a two-way game. He was a career plus five in 11 NHL seasons before last year's remarkable effort.
The 6'1, 194 lbs. winger needs to continue to be the Coyotes major point producer and he has gotten off to a quick start this season. He is on a point per game run through three games (2 goals, one assist) and will look to keep that streak going for as long as he can.
Smith will have to be stellar in net for the Coyotes to repeat any of their heroics from last season
2012 Statistics- 38-18-10, .930 save percentage, 2.21 goals against average
2013 Prediction- 22-10-6, .916 save percentage, 2.38 goals against average
Smith was incredible throughout most of last season and he was the major reason the team went as far as it did in the 2012 NHL Playoffs. His play down the stretch was nothing short of remarkable and he will have to play in a similar fashion to get the Coyotes back to the NHL Playoffs this season.
Due to the fact that there are so many back-to-back games in the shortened season, Smith might get about 10 games off this season. The 6'4, 218 lbs. goalie was injured last night against Columbus and will not play tonight against San Jose, but the injury does not appear to be too serious as he has been ruled out day-to-day with a lower body injury.
The 30-year-old Smith is in a contract season, so he should be plenty motivated to play well for multiple reasons this campaign.