Monday, August 25, 2014

2015 Pool Projections: Arizona

The general aesthetic of the Coyotes may have changed, adjusting the name and a couple of the secondary logos to read Arizona instead of Phoenix, but on the ice, I fully expect this to be the same old Coyotes team on the ice.

There isn't going to be much flash and dash on this team again in 2015, but like most years, their players should provide some reasonable depth options for your hockey pool team.  Last year's pool winner had one Phoenix player on his team, so it isn't like they're cursed or anything.

There was a few new faces added to this Coyotes team, as others departed, but the same kind of feel remains.  The coaching staff will have a similar cast of characters to what they had going into last season, but they may have sorted out a few of their trouble-makers in the dressing room and could be a better unit in the end.  They should still be difficult to play against, but they do lack that punch, especially on paper, which may make things difficult to make the playoffs in a difficult Pacific Division.

Forwards 14/15 Proj Cap Hit Defense 14/15 Proj Cap Hit Goaltenders 14/15 Proj Cap Hit
Shane Doan 60 5.300 Keith Yandle 55 5.300 Mike Smith 65 5.667
Mikkel Boedker 55 2.550 Oliver Ekman-Larsson 50 5.500 Devan Dubnyk 15 0.800
Martin Erat 50 4.500 Zbynek Michalek 20 4.000
Antoine Vermette 45 3.750 Michael Stone 20 1.150
Sam Gagner 45 3.200 David Schlemko 5 1.188
Martin Hanzal 45 3.100
Lauri Korpikoski 30 2.500
Joe Vitale 20 1.117
Kyle Chipchura 20 0.875
Rob Klinkhammer 20 0.625
TOTAL 51.121
Max Domi 35 0.894 Connor Murphy 20 0.863
B.J. Crombeen 15 1.150 Brandon Gormley 10 0.840
Brandon McMillan 15 0.625 Chris Summers 5 0.600
Jordan Szwarz 5 0.630 0.642

First Round Picks

With 85 points being the approximate benchmark for a 1st round pick in a 24-team draft, which we had last year, I don't see any Arizona players making that leap this year.  My current projections don't have the Coyotes in the playoffs this year, which means that Mike Smith is not looking like a good option for a very early selection.  The Coyotes may top out at a late 2nd round or an early 3rd round pick, at best.

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

Moving from Nashville to Washington a couple of seasons ago was thought to be a positive move for Martin Erat, as the Predators were selling off assets in a non-playoff year.  It wasn't a positive move at all.  Erat didn't flourish with the Capitals and found himself to be another deadline day deal, moving from DC to the desert, joining the Coyotes.  Tippett's Coyotes should play a brand of hockey closer to Trotz's Predators, so I am wondering if the 32-year old Czech can return to his 50-point seasons in Arizona, giving this team a much needed boost.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

I can see six decent options in the 35+ points range for the forwards, but none of them would be worth rushing for.  Guys like Martin Hanzal or Antoine Vermette may act as good bargain picks, as I have seen them slip through the cracks into some of the later rounds and then turn out to be really good picks.  Don't forget about Shane Doan either, rather he could sneak down an extra round and make for a pretty good pick-up as well.  The Coyotes may have a decent rookie option in Max Domi, as he carries a chip on his shoulder into camp and since the team could use some more offense and grit, he could be a solid option.

Other Pool Worthy Defense

The Coyotes are currently working with a pair of the league's better scoring defenders, which helps to keep them in games.  I would put a priority on guys like Keith Yandle or Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who I have in the 50-point ranges each, the only two defenders I would really look to out of Glendale.

Goaltending Situation

Number one goalies are hard to come by in the mid-rounds of the draft, especially with 24 teams picking, so going after starters is key.  Mike Smith is definitely one of those guys to keep an eye on.  As long as Smith is healthy, he will eat up minutes.  According to my projections, the cut-off for back-up goalie will be around 20 points, somewhere I don't think Devan Dubnyk will hit playing in behind.

Team To Pick From Late?

There just isn't much scoring depth in my pool projections to have the Coyotes as a viable option late in the draft.  I have this team with a number of borderline pool worthy players, who could go up or down around the depth levels, but before training camps open, I don't see anything that I would want late on in the draft.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

Salary CapThe Coyotes are all clear of all their restricted free agent signing duties and they have a projected roster of about 17 players at the moment, leaving about six spots to fight for and $17.9 million in cap space to use to help fill in those spots.  The Coyotes are rocking some new ownership, but the constraints of a poor player market has likely led to the team not spending much more than when the league had control.  I would be looking to see if the Coyotes use more of their youth to fill in these spots.


All is well in the desert.  The Coyotes appear healthy and ready to go for the 2015 season.

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