The Phoenix Coyotes haven’t been playing so hot, but I think they can turn around. This year could be a good one. With the acquisition of Mike Ribeiro and Max Domi, this team may be able to get into the playoffs this season. I was fortunate enough to watch Domi play against the Plymouth Whalers while he was a London Knights. He was a very quick forward and knew how to get the puck to the goal scorer. Does he crack the top three rising stars for Phoenix? Let’s take a look.
May 13, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Mike Ribeiro (9) skates with the puck as New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) chases in the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Ribeiro was a second line center last season for the Washington Capitals. This year, after signing a four year contract with Phoenix, he has moved up to the first line with Mikkel Boedker and Radim Vrbata. He has had a bit of a drought since the 2008-09 season. He hasn’t hit 20 goals in a season since that season, and I think he will break this. His 13 goals and 36 assists last season put him right below Alex Ovechkin for second place in points. This year, on the first line, he can be a big point generator.
April 27, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Phoenix Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata (17) reacts after scoring his third goal of the game against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Speaking of Radim Vrbata, he is next on the list. He recorded 28 points in 34 games last season. He is fast and knows how to play the puck, but without playing a full season last year, it was hard to impress us. This season, if he can play all 82 games, he will be able to bring out big numbers in both the goals and assists columns. This is going to be his year to shine, and with Boedker and Ribeiro at his side, it will be a piece of cake.
Apr 8, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oliver Ekman-Larsson isn’t that much of a star in the NHL, but it is great to watch him play defense. He had 24 points last season with a +5 rating. The only other defenseman who scored more points than him was his line mate Keith Yandle, who led the team with 30 points. Ekman-Larsson has a skill in the back, and being paired with Yandle is probably the best thing for the Coyotes. This season is going to be the one where everyone learns who Oliver Ekman-Larsson is and how he plays. Expect major points from this defenseman.
This team can be great this season, and these players, along with everyone else, need to step up their play if they expect to make the playoffs this year. Let us know what you think. Follow us on Twitter @NardoneDylan and @TMMotS. Comment below and tell us who you think deserves to be in this article.