Fantasy Puck Preview: Phoenix Coyotes

Scott Cullen
9/22/2008 12:42:30 PM
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A team with a bright future, the Phoenix Coyotes have more value for the long term and in keeper leagues than they will for the upcoming season.

While the Coyotes are stacked with promising young forwards, they do have a couple of proven veterans to lead the way, including newcomer Olli Jokinen.

Jokinen is one of the most durable players in the game, having not missed a game in more than five seasons and his arrival in Phoenix should mean good things for his production because he's going to have better linemates in Phoenix than he did in Florida.

The best of those linemates is Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who scored a career-high 78 points last season. The pair of veteran power forwards should prove to be most formidable this season.

Complementing Doan and Jokinen is second-year pro Peter Mueller, who is likely to join them on the top line. Mueller put up 54 points as a 19-year-old, so big things will be expected of him going forward.

The Coyotes have such a bright future because of young forwards like Kyle Turris. The third overall pick in the 2007 draft, Turris scored 35 points in 36 games as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, so it's fair to keep more modest expectations for his rookie season, but he's very skilled and will turn into a productive scorer as he gets stronger.

This year's first-round pick, Mikkel Boedker, has a chance to make the team too. Like Turris, Boedker has much more long-range value than he'll have immediately, so don't expect too much out of the Danish winger right away.

Second-year centre Martin Hanzal had a decent rookie season, scoring 35 points, but could have trouble increasing his numbers if he's surpassed by other young talents.

One of the most valuable Coyotes, particularly from a fantasy perspective, is agitating winger Daniel Carcillo, whose strong finish included 12 points and 152 penalty minutes in 24 games after the All-Star break. Not many players can get 30 points and 300 penalty minutes and Carcillo is one of them.

The Coyotes have a handful of up-and-coming prospects -- including Brett MacLean, Kevin Porter, Chad Kolarik and Enver Lisin -- though it's too soon to grab them for fantasy purposes.

On the blueline, the Coyotes are led by veterans Ed Jovanovski and Derek Morris.

Jovanovski was healthy last year, for the first time since 2001-2002, and proved that he can still be productive, but his frequent injuries make him a risky selection.

Morris hasn't reached 30 points in a season since the lockout, though he still gets power play time and puts up enough penalty minutes to be helpful in the deepest leagues.

The young blueliner with a chance to rise up this season is Keith Yandle, a 22-year-old who had eight of his 12 points last season on the power play. However, Yandle will have to be better than minus-12 (in only 43 games) if he's going to rise into a prominent role.

The addition of Ilya Bryzgalov last season gave the Coyotes a legitimate number one goaltender and Bryzgalov put up excellent numbers (2.42 GAA, .921 SVPCT) after arriving in Phoenix. The defence in front of him may suffer from the departures of Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton, so he may not match those numbers this seson, but Bryzgalov is a quality goaltender who will handle a starter's workload.

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