Not since the Coyotes first arrived in the desert has there been so much optimism heading into the season. Last season the Coyotes were in the playoff hunt up until the last month of the season when they just simply ran out of gas.
This year the Coyotes are heading into the season with only one thing on their minds: the playoffs. With the Coyotes group of talented players, this goal is certainly a possibility.
The Coyotes wil be one of the youngest teams in the league again this year, but star sophomores Martin Hanzal and Peter Mueller have a year of experience under their belts. They will be expected to improve on their excellent rookie seasons.
Mueller and Hanzal join a talented crop of forwards that already includes captain Shane Doan and newly acquired Olli Jokinen.
Like last year the Coyotes will ice a load of gifted rookies including Calder Trophy candidate Kyle Turris and super Dane Mikkel Boedker. If you add the gritty players like Carcillo, Fedoruk, and Winnik, you have a great mix of forwards.
On defense the Coyotes will ice a few new as well as familiar faces. Ed Jovanovski, Derek Morris and Zbynek Michalek are the returning defenseman.
Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton were traded in the offseason and in their place the Coyotes signed shutdown defenseman Kurt Sauer and David Hale.
Youngster Keith Yandle who played half the season with the Coyotes last season is expected to round out the Coyotes defense corps. With the exception of Keith Yandle and Ed Jovanovski, the Coyotes are going to play aggressive defense and will try to shutdown other team’s big stars.
When it comes to the Coyotes goaltending situation it is as solid as ever. Ilya Brzgalov is entering his first full season with the Coyotes. If he has a season anything like his first in the desert, Phoenix will be in great hands.
The backup situation is just as good with two very capable goalies in Mikael Tellqvist and Al Montoya. Tellqvist has proven to be a very reliable backup.
Montoya has been waiting for his chance to show off his excellent goaltending skills. The Coyotes goaltending is definitely something that they don’t have to worry about.
When the Coyotes relocated from Winnipeg they carried over a playoff tradition called the “Whiteout”. The “Whiteout” is where every fan in the stands wears white during a home playoff game. It creates a truly marvelous effect.
There has not been a “Whiteout” in Phoenix since the 2001-02 season, but with the talent the Coyotes have now it is only a matter of time.