We have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the NHL’s online services, you agree to these updated documents and to the arbitration of disputes.
Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 
SHARE

Coyotes' lineup will use scoring-by-committee

Tuesday, 08.28.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

By Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Share with your Friends


Coyotes' lineup will use scoring-by-committee
With their top scorer from last season gone and uncertainty about the return of their captain, the Phoenix Coyotes are likely to use a scoring-by-committee approach this season.

After the best season in franchise history, the Phoenix Coyotes lost their top offensive player this summer and might not have their captain and third-leading scorer back.

General manager Don Maloney added Steve Sullivan and David Moss in free agency, and each could end up in a top-six role with Ray Whitney in Dallas and Shane Doan still unsigned. Maloney's best offseason acquisition could end up being Zbynek Michalek. While the GM has had to wait on a decision from Doan, he was able to take advantage of the Pittsburgh Penguins' desire to clear salary-cap space with Michalek and their decision to wait on the premium free agents to nab Sullivan.

2012-13 Coyotes Fantasy Team Preview



Under-valued: Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Emerged as Phoenix’s No. 2 fantasy d-man behind Keith Yandle and finished the season with 13 goals and 32 points. Has tremendous upside and should only improve going forward while seeing an increase in PP time (2:04 per game last year).

Over-valued: Mike Smith – Still a very talented goalie, but don’t expect him to repeat last season’s heroics (38 wins, 2.21 GAA, .930 SV%, eight shutouts) as he’ll likely end up closer to his career 2.56 GAA and .914 SV%.

Sleeper: Steve Sullivan – Veteran winger will likely find himself on top line with Radim Vrbata (replacing the 77-point Ray Whitney from last season) and could end up with a valuable 50-plus point campaign.

-- Follow Matt Cubeta on Twitter: @NHLQubes

Nick Johnson and Chris Conner also spent time in the past with the Penguins, though they came directly from the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings, respectively, and each could earn a full-time role with the Coyotes. Regardless of Doan's destination, the Coyotes are likely to be a scoring-by-committee crew, though the young, offensive-minded defense corps will likely lessen the goal-scoring burden a bit for the forwards.

Forwards

Steve SullivanMartin HanzalRadim Vrbata

Mikkel BoedkerAntoine VermetteDavid Moss

Lauri KorpikoskiBoyd GordonNick Johnson

Chris Brown* – Kyle ChipchuraChris Conner

Paul Bissonnette

Defensemen

Oliver Ekman-LarssonRostislav Klesla

Keith YandleZbynek Michalek

Michael StoneDerek Morris

David Schlemko

Goaltenders

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

* - Chris Brown fills the void left by Raffi Torres, who will continue to serve the suspension he received for his hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Torres will miss the first eight games of the 2012-13 regular season.

NOTES: Should Doan return it would push Moss down the lineup. If not, this would be a chance for Moss to rebound while playing with two guys who performed very well during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Given the suspension for Torres, the Coyotes could use that time to audition junior-eligible player Jordan Martinook, or give Brown or Brendan Shinnimin a brief trial before sending them to Portland of the American Hockey League.

Michalek played almost exclusively with Ed Jovanovski during his last season with Phoenix, but he was paired with Yandle a little. Stone and Schlemko are just two of the guys who will be battling for the final spot on the blue line. Chris Summers and prospects Brandon Gormley, David Rundblad and Maxim Goncharov could all be involved.

Don't be surprised if coach Dave Tippett is wary of Smith's workload early in the season and tries to spot in LaBarbera more after the backup went the distance in 13 games in 2011-12.

Follow Corey Masisak on Twitter: @cmasisak22

For all 30 in 30 stories go to NHL.com/30in30stories and for the full 30 in 30 schedule visit NHL.com/30in30.

Quote of the Day

One player does not make your team. One player can help your team, but one player does not make your team. We're not a bare-bones organization.

— Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey