Phoenix Coyotes preview

Overview: Wait, do you hear that? It sounds like a whistle of an object hurtling back down to earth.

That sums up the Phoenix Coyotes season this year. A lot of things had to work right last year for them to make it to the playoffs. It won’t happen again.

Only two players on the team cracked 50 points last season, and no one got more than 55. Only one person got more than 20 goals. Outside of Ilya Bryzgalov, they don’t have a superstar player (and even Bryzagalov is a stretch to be called one).

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a team on the rise. They got lucky last season. And their luck is about to run out.

Best offseason move: Signing Ray Whitney. As mentioned above, Phoenix’s offence wasn’t so hot last season. Whitney has scored 20 or more goals at least nine times in his career. He’s a strong leader. He’s only two seasons removed from a 77-point campaign. The cap hit is acceptable ($3 million a year for two years). Solid move.

Worst offseason move: Not moving to Winnipeg. Look, it’s been said by everyone. No offence to the people in Phoenix, but they don’t support hockey (similar to how Ottawa fans won’t support baseball). It’s been tried. It’s unsuccessful. Move back to Winnipeg already.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Keith Yandle for the Norris trophy.

Pool pick: Keith Yandle. If you need to choose defencemen, then Yandle is a good sleeper pick. He had 41 points last season (good for fourth on the team). He has the potential to reach 50 points this year. Who to stay away from: Matthew Lombardi. At some point, you look at a player, and realize they’re never going to amount to what they were projected to do. Lombardi is now at that point. Look for him to finish with about 40 points this season.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name the Phoenix Coyotes all-time points scoring leaders?

Best hall of fame choice: Shane Doan. But he has no shot. He’s won two golds and three silvers at the world championships. And he’s played in an all-star game. And he’s been with one team for a long time. But that’s about it.

Blog to follow: Hip Checks

My Prediction: Fifth in the Pacific, 12th in the West

Famous celebrity from that city: Amy Davidson


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