Another NHL season is quickly coming upon us. After the all the off-ice issues the Coyotes have battled in the off-season, no team is more eager to start the season. Here are my player point predictions for the 2009-10 Phoenix Coyotes.
Mikkel Boedker: GP: 75, G: 18, A: 25, PTS: 43
He is coming off a solid rookie season. A 20-goal season isn't out of reach for the 19-year-old sophomore.
Shane Doan: GP: 82, G: 34, A: 47, PTS: 81
Doan had a career-high 31 goals last year but his overall point total dropped from the season before. He will be playing with more experienced players this season so expect his numbers to rise.
Vernon Fiddler: GP: 82, G: 12, A: 16, PTS: 28
Fiddler has always been a defensive player first, so don't expect any change from the veteran. Although, you should expect Fiddler to improve on his production from last year. He will get the opportunity to play a bigger role in Phoenix than he did in Nashville.
Martin Hanzal: GP: 76, G: 18, A: 30, PTS: 48
Hanzal like a lot of Coyotes players seen a decrease in stats from the season before. This season he will be reunited with Radim Vrbata, who Hanzal had great chemistry with in his rookie year. It is safe to say with another year of experience under his belt, Hanzal should easily increase his point totals.
Lauri Korpikoski:GP: 70, G: 9, A: 8, PTS: 17
He was acquired in the off-season from the New York Rangers for fellow youngster Enver Lisin. However unlike Lisin, Korpikoski is more of a defensive player. Don't expect any high offensive output, as more than likely Korpikoski will play a checking line role with the Coyotes.
Matthew Lombardi: GP: 82, G: 25, A: 35, PTS: 60
Lombardi had a great finish to last season. This year should be a breakout season for the speedy forward.
Peter Mueller: GP: 79, G: 27, A: 40, PTS: 67
Mueller suffered the dreaded sophomore slump last season. Expect his point totals to rise significantly, as he has too much talent not to produce more.
Kevin Porter: GP: 65, G: 10, A: 16, PTS: 26
Porter split last season between the Coyotes and the Rampage. When he was playing in the NHL, he had decent production. I expect him to crack the Coyotes lineup full time this year and should put up some respectable numbers.
Petr Prucha: GP: 77, G: 17, A: 28, PTS: 45
Prucha's numbers have been in decline ever since his rookie season, but expect that to change as he will play a much larger role than he did with the Rangers.
Taylor Pyatt: GP: 71, G: 14, A: 12 PTS: 26
The newest member of the Phoenix Coyotes had a career-high 23 goals for Vancouver in the 2006-07 season, playing on a line with the Sedin twins. He will not be surrounded in Phoenix with that same amount of talent, so don't expect a repeat of those numbers.
Viktor Tikhonov: GP: 65, G: 10, A: 13, PTS: 23
Entering his sophomore season, expect more of the defense-first style of play from Tikhonov. Expect his numbers to stay around the same.
Kyle Turris: GP: 41, G: 8, A: 16, PTS: 24
Turris had a disappointing season to say the least. With the amount of the depth the Coyotes have this year on forwards, Turris most likely will split time between the Coyotes and the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL.
Although he hasn't lived quite up to expectations so far , Turris has the skill needed to be an elite player in the NHL.
Radim Vrbata: GP: 72, G: 24, A: 34, PTS: 58
The only way you can describe last season for Vrbata is a complete failure. He is now back to the team where he recorded a career high 27 goals in 2007-08. You can expect Vrbata to get close to if not match those career numbers.
Scottie Upshall: GP: 82, G: 21, A: 27, PTS: 48
When Upshall came over to the Coyotes at the trade deadline he immediately took on a bigger role. This season, Upshall will continue to play a huge role with the Coyotes, so you can expect a career year from him.
Keith Yandle: GP: 74, G: 7, A: 34, PTS: 41
Despite being in Gretzky's doghouse last season, Yandle managed to record 30 points in his first full season in the NHL. Expect Phoenix's top offensive defenseman's numbers to rise, especially with Gretzky no longer behind the bench.
Ed Jovanovski: GP: 78, G: 6A: 36, PTS: 42
One of the few of Phoenix's big name players also saw production go down from a year ago. Still, Jovanovski has shown he can stay healthy the last couple of seasons and is good for 40-plus points.
Adrian Aucoin: GP: 82, G: 9, A: 28, PTS: 37
Although Aucoin has seen his better years pass behind him, but he is still a solid veteran presence. He should see significant time on the power play. If the Coyotes can improve their power play, Aucoin will improve his numbers.
Zbynek Michalek: GP: 82, G: 4, A: 28, PTS: 32
The fact that Michalek led the league in shots blocked last season should go to show you that he is a defense first kind of player. That is not to say Michalek can't score, as he is usually good for 30 points a season.
Kurt Sauer: GP: 82, G: 1, A: 5, PTS: 6
All you need to know about Sauer is that he is the Coyotes best “shutdown” defenseman.
James Vandermeer: GP: 68, G: 2, A: 8 PTS: 10
Acquired from Calgary for his great defensive play and that is exactly what he will provide for the Coyotes.
Sami Lepisto:GP: 32, G: 3, A: 9, PTS: 12
He has put up high numbers in the AHL, but Lepisto is at least a season away from getting full time duty on the Phoenix defensive corpse.
Ilya Bryzgalov: GP: 60, W: 32, GAA: 2.54, SV%: .916, SO:4
He is coming off a decent showing in his first full season as an NHL starter. With the moves the Coyotes made in the off-season to improve their defense, you should expect Bryzgalov's numbers to rise.
Jason LaBarbera: GP: 22, W: 8, GAA: 2.75, SV%: .905, SO:1
Once a No. 1 goalie in Los Angeles, he is now a solid backup goaltender. He played behind Roberto Luongo last season, so LaBarbera will definitely see more action in the Coyotes net this year.