The Fansided NHL Network, that SenShot is proud to be a member of, is embarking on its NHL preview. Each day in September, one of its members will be posting a preview for their club. SenShot will look at their preview, and let you have a look. After that, we will provide our own perspective. Jared will handle the Western Conference teams while Tony will look at the East.
The Coyotes surprised many pundits last season by posting 99 points (tied for 4th in the West) and entering the postseason as the 6th seed. A sweep at the hands of the Red Wings brought the club back down to earth and some big changes were made in the off season. So what will become of the Coyotes this year?
Howlin Hockey‘s Glenn Brewer looks ahead at the Desert Dogs
It is finally time to start talking about the on ice issues regarding the Coyotes. Time to pack away the baseball gear and break out the skates. Here is a preview on the 2011-12 Phoenix Coyotes.
This is the group that will carry the Coyotes to the level they want to be at. The forwards have a great mix of grit, skill, and responsibility. It is a part of the team that does not get enough credit because they lack the flashy highlight reels, and explosive stats. If anything can be learned from the Phoenix Coyotes play in the last two years, it’s that this team truly relies on smart team play. The one thing that GM Don Maloney and Dave Tippett do well is bringing in players that fit the system and the locker room. This off-season was no different with the addition of Daymond Langkow, Boyd Gordon, and Raffi Torres. All three will contribute heavily to the team, especially on special teams. These veteran players, combined with the promising youth, make the forwards deep and dangerous. The depth at the AHL level will make it easier to deal with minor injuries throughout the long season.
You can’t begin talking about the wings without mentioning Shane Doan. This man is a true warrior, and is not showing signs of slowing down. The power play has grown since Doan’s arrival at the point last season. Ray Whitney has brought the
READ THE REST OF THE COYOTES PREVIEW HERE
SENSHOT’S TAKE ON THE COYOTES
Losing Ilya Bryzgalov and adding Mike Smith as his replacement means the Coyotes take an immediate step back. They also lost a lot of leadership in Vern Fiddler and Ed Jovanovski. Bringing in Daymond Langkow is a risk given his recent injury history.
As a club that operates near the cap floor, the Coyotes will find out just how much Ilya Bryzgalov had to do with their consecutive post-season appearances. With the competitiveness of the West, and teams like the Stars, Blues and Flames chomping at the bit to overtake teams, I don’t know if they will have enough to make it a third year in a row. Of the 2010-11 playoff teams, Phoenix is the club that seems to be ripe for the picking and will be the team that the other playoff contenders are gunning to knock out.
It comes down to the fact that Smith is no Byrzgalov, and it equals a playoff miss.
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