Despite posting a 21-12-3 record, the Phoenix Coyotes have been short-handed throughout the season.
Kurt Sauer, 28, has battled injuries throughout his eight seasons in the NHL.
Sauer has only appeared in one game this season due to an injury he sustained while playing with the Colorado Avalanche two years ago.
While Sauer has been sidelined, the Coyotes have become dominant without him. The question is when Sauer returns, will the Coyotes even need him?
The Coyotes have quietly become one of the best defensive teams in the NHL this season without Sauer. Sauer who signed a four-year contract with the Coyotes back in 2008 has become a forgotten commodity while the Coyotes have succeeded without him.
Sauer is expected to return either just before or after the Olympic break. Sauer’s return to the lineup around this time would be beneficial to the Coyotes. With the Olympics just around the corner, it is only a matter of time until someone gets injured.
If Sauer can stay healthy for the rest of the season, the Coyotes could rely on him instead of someone without much experience from the AHL. When Sauer does return to the NHL this season, expect Coyotes General Manager to keep a close eye on him.
The Coyotes are just a few trades away from cementing their status as a legitimate threat in the Pacific Division. If Sauer fails to produce then the Coyotes can find a replacement.
However, if Sauer does produce, then the Coyotes will be knocking on the doorsteps of the Pacific Division as the race for the best record in the Pacific Division looks to heat up in the coming weeks.