2013 Phoenix Coyotes Preview

I thought I would have some fun and make some predictions for the upcoming NHL season.  If they’re right, you’ll be hearing about this later.  If not, well, this post might be deleted.

In case you haven’t heard yet, the Coyotes pulled off a trade yesterday to bring back center Matthew Lombardi.  During his time with the ‘Yotes he scored 24 goals, 45 assists in 97 games.  More importantly, however, in the 7-game series vs. Detroit in 2010, he chipped in 6 points (1G, 5A).  Since he left Phoenix for what he thought would be greener pastures in Nashville, he hasn’t had the type of success that he enjoyed earlier in his career.  While in Nashville, he suffered an “upper-body injury” (I thought I’d get back into the hockey groove with my injury descriptions).  The injury was originally thought to have been a concussion, but during the press conference last night with GM Maloney, GMDM said that the injury was a neck injury and was cleared up at training camp of last season.  And if he’s 100%, we all remember how fast and effective Lombardi can be.

Looking at the roster, I’m trying to figure out what the line combinations could be when we see the team take on Dallas on Saturday.  Since I usually just write without thinking, I guess I’ll do that here too.

Forward Line Predictions:

  1. Boedker/Vermette/Doan
  2. Sullivan/Hanzal/Vrbata
  3. Moss/Lombardi/Korpikoski
  4. Chipchura/Gordon/Torres (for the first 8 games, could be BizNasty)

Defense Line Predictions:

  1. Michalek/Ekman-Larsson
  2. Yandle/Morris
  3. Klesla/Schlemko

And of course…(read in an announcer voice) “In goal for your Phoenix Coyotes, #41 Mike Smith”.  However, Tippet said last night in his press conference that we could see a lot more LaBarbera than we did last year.

It wouldn’t be a full prediction unless I also looked into the crystal ball to see how the Pacific Division will end up, along with both the Western and Eastern Conferences.

Pacific Division

  1. Phoenix Coyotes – I didn’t want to do this.  It may seem like I’m just picking them because they’re my team, but here’s my reasons.  Good defensively, picked up a few pieces to help the offense, and the majority of the guys skated together at some point during the lockout.  I expect them to get to raise another banner.
  2. Los Angeles Kings – Jonathan Quick is too good.  He won’t let this team slip too far.  Only good thing about Quick?  He’s American.  So he’ll be my favorite player in February 2014.
  3. San Jose Sharks – Can you believe this?  The Sharks could possibly fall to the middle of the division!  They’ve been at the top for such a long time, but their team just doesn’t impress me enough to put them above the Coyotes or Kings.
  4. Dallas Stars – I like Lehtonen, but the rest of this team just doesn’t seem like one that can compete in this division.  Ray Whitney will have to stop producing at some point (hopefully), and Jagr isn’t what he used to be.  They have a few good players, but not the depth needed to be higher up in this division.
  5. Anaheim Ducks – If you can shut down their top line, you’re going to win.  That’s not a recipe for success for the Ducks.  As I look at their roster, I see that they have at least announced a TV schedule for this year.  That’s the only thing they have over the Coyotes at this point.

Western Conference

  1. St. Louis Blues
  2. Phoenix Coyotes
  3. Minnesota Wild
  4. Nashville Predators
  5. Los Angeles Kings
  6. Vancouver Canucks
  7. San Jose Sharks
  8. Chicago Blackhawks
  9. Detroit Red Wings
  10. Dallas Stars
  11. Calgary Flames
  12. Colorado Avalanche
  13. Anaheim Ducks
  14. Columbus Blue Jackets
  15. Edmonton Oilers

Eastern Conference

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Carolina Hurricanes
  3. Buffalo Sabres
  4. New York Rangers
  5. Washington Capitals
  6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. Boston Bruins
  8. Ottawa Senators
  9. Florida Panthers
  10. New Jersey Devils
  11. Tampa Bay Lightning
  12. Toronto Maple Leafs
  13. New York Islanders
  14. Montreal Canadiens
  15. Winnipeg Jets

I know I have some non-conventional picks for my final standings.  Detroit falling out of the top-8 to Buffalo and Carolina winning their divisions, this could be a season that is not like any other that we’ve ever seen.  It’ll be about which teams have depth and get out to a hot start.

Stanley Cup Prediction 

St. Louis Blues vs. Washington Capitals

St. Louis in 6

There you have it.  My Stanley Cup champion is the St. Louis Blues.  That defense and goaltending combination will be hard to beat in this shortened season.

**Bonus Features**

Yesterday, I had my 20th birthday.  Yes, you can send me money anytime you want.  But that made me think to how I spent my 13th birthday, at a Coyotes game.  It was the first game that I attended at Jobing.com Arena.  I remember walking around the concourse before the game and seeing a model plan of how Westgate was going to end up.  Sadly, it still hasn’t reached that point.  That game was the MLK matinee game on January 16, 2006 vs. Washington Capitals.

Remember that one?  When I was there, I obviously didn’t like it.  It was my birthday, and the Capitals just took a 6-1 lead.  Looking back, however, I’m glad that I got to see what could be the greatest goal scored by of one of the greatest goal scorers.  It’s definitely something that I can enjoy now.

And now for Bonus Feature #2!  Here’s a Fox Sports AZ highlight video from last year.  Enjoy!


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