Apr. 2, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata (17) looks to pass the puck as Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) forechecks during the third period at Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes beat the Kings 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting The Pacific: Phoenix Coyotes

Predicting The Pacific is a week-long event where we will look at a different team each day of the week and take a guess at where they will be amongst the rest of the Pacific Division come the end of next season. Here we go.

It was another summer filled with distractions for the Phoenix Coyotes, or Arizona Coyotes what ever they are going by nowadays. These distractions have gotten so tiring that the Coyotes almost lost captain Shane Doan, the team’s cornerstone player. But with the season set to kick back into gear in just a few weeks, it is time shift focus back onto the ice and away from the front offices.

One can not help but get the feeling that hockey in the desert is in a sort of transitional period. The Coyotes missed the playoffs last season and may suffer the same fate this season due to the stacked competition in the Pacific Division.

However, Phoenix took the right first step in correcting the ship by extending one of the best coaches in the league in Dave Tippet and also agreeing to a long-term contract with goalie, Mike Smith. Damn, I really don’t like that guy.

The Coyotes went out and grabbed center man, Mike Ribiero who had all kinds of success against the Kings during his time with the Dallas Stars.

On top of Ribiero, Doan and Smith Phoenix is home to Martin Hanzal who is a towering forward that stands six-feet six-inches over the ice, and perhaps one of the most underrated defenseman in the league, Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Also it will be interesting to see if the Coyotes first pick from the year’s draft, Max Domi gets any time with the big club out of training camp.

It is no secret the type of hockey they Coyotes play. They want the score to stay low and keep within striking distance of their opponent. I don’t know if that will work in the Pacific Division this season. There is a lot of offensive talent around the Division and it will be interesting to see if the Coyotes can keep other team’s offense at bay. If they can’t things could get ugly.

Now time to vote. Will the Coyotes rebound and have a better showing than last season’s finish? Or will they struggle once again and finish towards the bottom of the division?

What Place Will The Phoenix Coyotes Finish In The Pacific Division?

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Tags: Los Angeles Kings Martin Hanzal Mike Smith Phoenix Coyotes Shane Doan

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