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Dec 2, 2012 10:11pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

The Phoenix Coyotes long-term status in the desert is still up in the air, but
they are coming off an appearance in the Western Conference Final, their third
straight season reaching the playoffs under head coach Dave Tippett. Trent Richardson Youth Jersey . Off-Season
Game Plan looks at an overacheiving Coyotes team that, because of their
uncertain future, constantly has to put together what appears to be a patchwork
lineup. That the Coyotes have accumulated 303 points in the last three seasons
is stunning, given the patchwork nature of their lineup. This past season, they
were led by goaltender Mike Smith, a bargain free agent signing who had been the
backup in Tampa Bay. Their big trade acquisition was Antoine Vermette, a useful
player to be sure, but hardly considered an impact player for a team that
reached the Western Conference Final—at least until he became their leading
playoff scorer. Their leading scorer (and leader in plus-minus) during the
regular season was Ray Whitney, who turned 40 during the playoffs. Going into
the summer, the Coyotes have two of their top three scorers (Whitney and team
captain Shane Doan) on the way to unrestricted free agency, which would leave
Radim Vrbata, Lauri Korpikoski and Martin Hanzal as the only forwards that
scored at least 30 points last season. That doesnt come as a shock, since the
Coyotes arent a high-flying offensive club, but they can hardly afford to lose
significant offence from a team that didnt have much scoring in the first place,
ranking 18th in the league with 2.56 goals per game. Its easy enough to look at
the Phoenix roster and dimiss their chances, but after theyve reached the
playoffs for three straight seasons, its starting to get foolish to bet against
them. Now, its just a matter of seeing what tricks GM Don Maloney and Dave
Tippett have up their sleeves in order to keep the Coyotes competitive. Somehow,
someway, theyve been able to stay in town this long, so why cant they stay on
this playoff run? The TSN.ca Rating is an efficiency rating based on per-game
statistics including goals and assists—weighted for strength (ie. power play,
even, shorthanded)—plus-minus, hits, blocked shots, giveaways, takeaways,
penalty differential and faceoffs. (Stats are listed in this format: G-A-PTS,
/, PIM, GP). Generally, a replacement-level player is around a 60, a top six
forward and top four defenceman will be 70-plus and the biggest stars will be
over 80. Evgeni Malkin finished at the top of the regular season ratings with a
93.12. Salary cap information all comes from the indispensable www.capgeek.com.
GM/COACHDon Maloney/Dave Tippett Returning Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS
Cap Hit Radim Vrbata 76.01 77 35 27 62 24 $3.0M Martin Hanzal 68.67 64 8 26 34
+12 $3.1M Antoine Vermette 65.34 82 11 26 37 13 $3.75M Lauri Korpikoski 64.43
82 17 20 37 +3 $1.8M Raffi Torres 62.47 79 15 11 26 +2 $1.75M Mikkel Boedker
62.33 82 11 13 24 -2 $1.1M Boyd Gordon 61.81 75 8 15 23 +9 $1.325M
Paul Bissonnette 51.41 31 1 0 1 -4 $737.5K Free Agent Forwards Player Rating GP
/ Class 11-12 Cap Hit Ray Whitney 74.77 82 24/td> 53 77 26 UFA
$3.0M Shane Doan 71.80 79 22 28 50 8 UFA $4.55M Gilbert Brule 63.72 33 5 9 14
+7 RFA $1.85M Daymond Langkow 62.16 73 11 19 30 -4 UFA $4.5M Taylor Pyatt 61.26
73 9 10 19 -4 UFA $1.0M Kyle Chipchura 58.72 53 3 13 16 +2 RFA $550K All should
be wonderful with 31-year-old winger Radim Vrbata, coming off a season in which
he scored a career-high 35 goals and 62 points, but a playoff that included just
two goals and five points in 16 games raises some concerns. The pending free
agent status of Ray Whitney could also affect Vrbatas production going forward.
25-year-old Martin Hanzal is an effective two-way centre, taking on difficult
assigments every night and using his 6-foot-5 frame well on the defensive end.
Hanzal has scored between 31 and 35 points in four of his five NHL seasons,
which isnt a lot of production for the kind of ice time he receives, but last
seasons 34 points in 64 games ranked as the best points-per-game of his career.
Acquired from Columbus last season, Antoine Vermette had a modest 10 points in
22 games for the Coyotes after the trade, but picked it up in the postseason,
leading the club with 10 points in 16 games. Vermette is versatile and should be
a good fit with the Coyotes because he is defensively responsible while also
capable of contributing offensively. Indsutrious winger Lauri Korpikoski has
been s solid complementary piece, scoring 77 points over the last two seaons,
but he didnt register a single point in 11 playoff games last season, leaving
the 26-year-old room for improvement. Ever-notorious winger Raffi Torres crossed
the line one too many times, apparently, as he was dealt a 25-game suspension
for his head hit on Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa in the first round of the
playoffs. Torres has scored 60 goals over the last four seasons, so he can
contribute without venturing into suspendable territory so often, but hes going
to have some time to contemplate his style of play, if he chooses to take a
slightly introspective approach. Mikkel Boedker was rushed to the NHL after he
was drafted eighth overall in 2008, but it has taken time for him to
re-establish himself in a regular role. In the playoffs, Boedkers ice time went
up (16:56 per game, compared to 12:52 per game in the regular season after the
All-Star break). The 22-year-old has the speed and skill to be more of a factor
offensively and he should see an increased opportunity as a result. After his
role had declined in Washington, Boyd Gordon benefitted from a fresh start in
Phoenix, playing nearly 16 minutes per game, primarily in a defensive role.
Gordons an ace in the face-off circle, winning at least 55% of his draws in each
of the last five seasons. /p> He may be the most popular hockey player on
Twitter, but Paul Bissonnette has scored two goals (with no assists) in 79 games
over the last two seasons. He does have 39 fights over the last three seasons,
and he mixes it up with the big boys, so his role is well-defined. Gilbert Brule
continues to bounce around, trying to make it as an NHL regular even if hes not
going to live up to his draft status (sixth overall in 2005). He didnt play much
(11:34 per game), but was able to contribute some offensively. Strangely enough,
there were nine games in which Brule played more than 13 minutes and he failed
to register a point in any of them. 26-year-old Kyle Chipchura scored a
career-high 16 points last season. He, too, was a first-round pick in 2004, but
has been clinging to an NHL job as a fourth-line checker. He has the intangibles
—heart, toughness, character—and good size, but at his level of production,
its going to be a constant battle for playing time. Uncertainty has been the
order of the day for the Coyotes in recent years, particularly when it comes to
dealing with free agents, because there has long been the sense that the Coyotes
could be leaving Phoenix at any time, which makes it difficult to lure
prospective free agents, especially those that require long-term financial
commitments. When it comes to their own free agents, the Coyotes have two of
their best forwards heading towards free agency. Its virtually impossible to
picture Shane Doan in another uniform, so figure that something will get worked
out on that front, but Ray Whitney is more interesting. The 40-year-old led the
Coyotes with 77 points and while Phoenix would obviously love to have him back,
there will be other clubs interested and if Whitney gets lured away, that leaves
a gaping hole in the lineup. If the Coyotes are seeking offensive forwards in
free agency, PA Parenteau, Andrei Kostitsyn and Jiri Hudler could each hold some
appeal or a veteran like Brian Rolston on a one-year deal could be worth a try.
It might not be the right stylistic fit to go for Alexander Semin, but perhaps
the Coyotes could find a way to integrate him into the lineup to upgrade their
skill. Returning Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS
/ Cap Hit Keith Yandle 73.39
82 11 32 43 5 $5.25M Oliver Ekman-Larsson 70.76 82 13 19 32 0 $1.75M
Rostislav Klesla 70.62 65 3 10 13 +13 $2.975M Derek Morris 67.88 59 2 9 11 12
$2.75M David Schlemko 66.60 46 1 10 11 +7 $550K Free Agent Defence Player Rating
/ Class 11-12 Cap Hit Michal Rozsival 66.02 54 1 12 13 +8 UFA $5.0M
Adrian Aucoin 65.55 64 2 7 9 +14 UFA $2.0M Kurt Sauer N/A           UFA $1.75M A
quiet superstar on the Coyotes blueline, Keith Yandle hasnt missed a game in the
last three seasons and ranks fifth among defencemen with 143 points in that time
frame. Yandles minutes were down by a couple per game last season (to 22:20), so
he could likely handle a heavier workload next season. Part of the reason that
Yandle wasnt needed on the ice so much was due to the emergence of
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who played more than 22 minutes per game for the season,
but 23:46 per game after the All-Star break. The 20-year-old is a savvy
puck-mover who can handle tough defensive matchups and its a pleasant problem
for the Coyotes to have when they get to debate whether Yandle or Ekman-Larsson
is the better player. Veteran blueliner Rostislav Klesla is oft-injured—his
65 games played last season was his most since 2007-2008—but when hes in the
lineup, he gets charged with tough minutes. He finished with a career-best
plus-13 last season and, after 13 points in the regular season, exploded for
eight in 15 playoff games. For the first time in his career, 33-year-old
Derek Morris played fewer than 20 minutes per game and he played relatively
protected minutes too (per www.behindthenet.ca), yet his minus-13 rating was his
third-worst in a 14-season NHL career. Morris can play on the third pair at this
point, but expecting him to handle a top-four role would be asking for trouble.
Though hes still a part-timer, coming off a season in which he played a
career-high 46 games, David Schlemko got significant playing time when he was in
the lineup (18:28 per game) and played some challenging opposition before a pair
of injuries pretty much wiped out his second half of the season. With turnover
expected on the Phoenix blueline, Schlemko should have the inside track on one
of the top six spots. Facing the prospect of veterans Michal Rozsival and
Adrian Aucoin moving on, there may be more room for prospects to crack the
lineup. Michael Stone and Chris Summers filled in last season and
Brandon Gormley may be able to challenge for a spot fresh out of junior. If not,
the Coyotes could dip into the free agent market for veterans like Pavel Kubina,
Sheldon Souray, Bryan Allen or Carlo Colaiacovo. Returning Goaltenders Player
Rating GP W L OTL GAA SV Cap Hit Mike Smith 86.59 67 38 18 10 2.21 .930 $2.0M
Jason LaBarbera 70.51 19 3 9 3 2.54 .912 $1.25M 30-year-old Mike Smith emerged
from essentially being a marginal backup, with a .900 save percentage over the
previous two seasons, to suddenly become a Vezina contender. Given his track
record, its reasonable to wonder whether Smith is a fluke, but he played at an
extremely high level for 83 games, including playoffs, so even if he never posts
a .930 save percentage again, its also possible that Smith has improved and can
be a viable starter for several more years. Jason LaBarbera hasnt played a lot
since coming to Phoenix, 53 games in three seasons, but a .916 save percentage
in that time is more than respectable. With this tandem, goaltending is not a
major concern for the Coyotes unless, of course, Smith comes crashing to earth
and stops 90
of the shots he faces instead of 93%. Top Prospects Player Pos.
Team/League Stats Brandon Gormley D Shawinigan (QMJHL) 10-22-32, +3, 35 GP
Connor Murphy D Sarnia (OHL) 8-18-26, -3, 35 GP David Rundblad D Portland (AHL)
7-9-16, -18, 30 GP Michael Stone D Portland (AHL) 9-13-22, +2, 51 GP
Mark Visentin G Niagara (OHL) 30-9-2, 1.99 GAA, .926 SV%, 42 GP Lucas Lessio LW
Oshawa (OHL) 34-25-59, -6, 66 GP Chris Summers D Portland (AHL) 0-2-2, +3, 28 GP
Viktor Tikhonov LW St. Petersburg (KHL) 17-13-30, +11, 42 GP Andy Miele LW
Portland (AHL) 16-38-54, -4, 69 GP Brett MacLean LW Portland (AHL) 25-23-48, -3,
63 GP The 13th pick in the 2010 draft, Brandon Gormley has had some trouble
staying healthy, but hes a smart puck-mover who has 80 points in 82 QMJHL games
over the last two seasons. Maybe hell need some grooming in the AHL, but it may
not take long. A first-round pick last summer, Connor Murphy is a lanky
defenceman who has his own share of injury troubles, but he played well enough
in his first taste of OHL action that he should generate high expectations for
what he might do if he can stay in the lineup. Highly-touted after scoring 50
points in 55 Swedish Elite League games in 2010-2011, David Rundblad had trouble
getting into the Ottawa Senators lineup then was traded to Phoenix for
Kyle Turris. Rundblad was productive enough in the AHL, but his minus-18 in 30
games does suggest that his game isnt necessarily as well-rounded as it needs to
be in order to handle a significant role in the NHL. Michael Stone is an
offensive defenceman who earned a 13-game trial with the Coyotes last season.
While his advanced numbers indicate room for improvement, Stone had three points
and was plus-7 with the Coyotes. A first-round pick in 2010, Mark Visentin has
improved throughout his junior career and was dominant in his fourth OHL season
for Niagara last season. Theres no need to rush the 19-year-old goaltender, but
he appears to be the Coyotes goalie of the future. Taken in the second round
last summer, Lucas Lessio didnt improve much offensively, but hes a big winger
who has 61 goals in his first two OHL seasons. Though Chris Summers was a
first-round pick in 2006, the 24-year-old has been bypassed on the prospect list
by younger, newer models. At the same time, Summers stepped into the Phoenix
lineup for 21 games, with limited ice time, last season. 24-year-old
Viktor Tikhonov played 61 games with the Coyotesi n 2008-2009, but has spent a
couple of years in the AHL and one in the KHL since. He has enough speed to be a
factor in a checking role and could have a shot to return to the NHL next
season. A smallish forward who had 54 points in 69 AHL games, but was scoreless
in seven NHL games last season, Andy Miele is a 24-year-old that may have to
battle questions about his size and whether hes going to be able to score
consistently in the NHL. Size hasnt been an issue, but skating is one of the
questions regarding Brett MacLean, a 23-year-old winger who has 99 goals in four
AHL seasons. MacLean had five points in 18 NHL games last season, but remains on
the fringe of the NHL lineup. Michigan winger Chris Brown, Tri-City playmaker
Brendan Shinnimin and minor-league scorer Brock Trotter add depth to the Coyotes
list of forward prospects; same for Michael Lee, a goaltender signed out of St.
Cloud State. Defenceman Max Goncharov will also garner consideration because of
his combination of size and skill.  DRAFT27th – Henrik Samuelsson,
Stefan Matteau, Pontus Aberg, Martin Frk FREE AGENCYAccording to
www.capgeek.com, the Coyotes have approximately $33.1M committed to the
2012-2013 salary cap for 15 players. Check out my potential 2012-2013 Coyotes
roster on Cap Geek here. Needs: Three top nine forwards, one top four
defenceman, depth defencemen. What I said the Coyotes needed last year: Three
top nine forwards, starting goaltender. They added: Daymond Langkow,
Raffi Torres, Boyd Gordon, Mike Smith. TRADE MARKET Prospects, picks. Scott
Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.
Brandon Weeden Womens Jersey . The Jays
halted the five-game skid by topping the New York Yankees, 10-7, on Sunday in
the finale of a three-game set. Rajai Davis drove in five runs and made a superb
defensive play, as Toronto avoided the sweep. Bernie Kosar Jersey . The Sochaux defenders
header from a cross by Lukasz Piszczek found the net after half an hour, earning
Poland a second straight 1-0 victory after its win over Latvia on Tuesday.
Poland coach Franciszek Smuda made seven changes to the side, most notably to
include Dortmund trio Lukas Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Robert
Lewandowski. http://www.officialclevelandbrownsgear.com/jim-brown-jerseys
.  If history is an indication, it wont be an easy game for the Flyers who last
picked up a win in Edmonton almost 11 years ago. Trent Richardson Womens Jersey . —The
Oakland Athletics have recalled right-hander Andrew Carignan from Triple-A
Sacramento and optioned right-hander Graham Godfrey back to the River Cats. Brandon Weeden Youth Jersey . —The Patriots
acquired receiver Greg Salas from St. TORONTO —Same problem, different
quarter. Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points and DeMar DeRozan added 19 for the
Toronto Raptors on Saturday, but their solid nights were spoiled by a horrendous
second quarter en route to a 93-83 loss to Philadelphia 76ers. “We havent put
together a true 48 minutes. Give me 46, Id be happy with that,” said Toronto
coach Dwane Casey. The Raptors have been plagued by poor first quarters, but it
was a horrible second that proved costly against a Philly team thats won three
straight games. In the span of 15 dreadful minutes, a 10-point first-quarter
lead turned into a 19-point deficit for a stunned Raptors squad that was booed
to the dressing room trailing 52-33 at halftime. The Raptors shot a woeful
2-for-20 from the floor and was outscored 32-7 in a second quarter that had
Casey screaming himself hoarse. It was Torontos worst scoring output in a
quarter since 2003. “Weve been talking in all the games, we play good for three
quarters, we lose it in one, everything we worked for,” said Jose Calderon.
“Sometimes you get into that kind of downhill and weve got to be able to turn it
around when it happens in the game. “Its happening so many times, its always
playing good for a while and then we hit that wall and stop playing. It looks
like we forget to play basketball.” Calderon added 14 points and 11 assists as
the Raptors (1-5) dropped their third straight. Thaddeus Young, Nick Young, and
Jrue Holiday scored 16 points apiece to top the Sixers (4-2). Dorell Wright
added 15 while Spencer Hawes finished with 12. The Raptors, wearing their
camouflage uniforms in honour of Remembrance Day, made a game of it in the third
quarter, cutting Phillys lead to seven points heading into the fourth. But
Torontos burst of energy was short-lived and when Nick Young drained a long
jumper as the shot clock sounded with just over three minutes left in the game
—putting the Sixers up by 17 points—plenty of fans tugged on their coats
and headed for the exits. The Raptors had one last gasp capped by a Calderon
three-pointer with 1:01 left that cut Phillys lead to 10 points, but it was too
little too late for the home team. “The second quarter was the picture of the
game,” Bargnani said. “Against a team like Philadelphia which is playing great
basketball you cannot afforrd to do that. Brandon Weeden Jersey. We played a decent
game for three quarters, but again we cannot afford to have a quarter like that.
“Of course it is our fault.” The Raptors were missing starters Kyle Lowry and
Landry Fields, Lowry with a sprained ankle he suffered two games earlier at
Oklahoma City and Fields with tenderness in his right hand. Alan Anderson
started in place of Fields but was carried off the court with a sprained left
foot to end the third quarter. The loss of Lowry was big for Toronto. The point
guard has been the Raptors most consistent player, and has had some of his best
games against his hometown Philly team. Casey said he sees “light at the end of
the tunnel.” “I see that with our fight, I see that for three quarters, every
game theres been three solid quarters, three competitive quarters each game, and
now weve got to close that gap with four, get that one extra quarter,” the coach
said. The Raptors bench was outscored 38-12. “If we were going to win this game
our bench was going to have to help us because we were very tired,” said Sixers
coach Doug Collins. “Our first unit tonight just didnt have any juice at all. We
were down in the first quarter, and then our second unit was fantastic.” The
Sixers, who were coming off a 106-100 victory at Boston the previous night, shot
47 per cent on the night to the Raptors 38 per cent and outrebounded Toronto
46-35. Bargnani had a big first quarter with nine points, his turnaround jumper
with three minutes left lifting the Raptors to a 10-point lead. The Raptors led
26-20 heading into the second. The Sixers shot 67 per cent in the second
quarter, outscoring Toronto 32-7 to take a 52-33 lead into the dressing room at
halftime. The Raptors pushed back in the third, shooting 69 per cent in the
quarter and outscoring the Sixers 29-17. A three-pointer by DeRozan late in the
quarter cut the Sixers lead to seven point and Philly led 69-62 with one quarter
left. NOTES: Linas Kleiza was back in the lineup after missing four games to
attend to a family matter. . . Toronto is at home to Utah on Monday. . . The
Raptors honoured Olympians Rosie MacLennan (gold in trampoline) and Robyn Gayle
(bronze, womens soccer) at centre court. The two were presented with framed No.
12 Raptors jerseys. . . The Raptors warmup shirts read “Forces.” ’ ’ ’ 

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