31-46-5 (15th in West)
KEY ADDITIONS G
David Aebischer, G�Radim Vrbata, G Mike York
KEY LOSSES G
Curtis Joseph, RW Owen Nolan, C Jeremy Roenick
The Coyotes are a
mirror image of the Kings, except that mirror is slightly cracked. Like Los
Angeles, Phoenix's goaltending is unimpressive, and its group of young forwards
is not nearly as far along as the Kings'. If a team is lousy enough for long
enough, of course, it can stockpile high-end draft talent that makes an
eventual revival all but inevitable.
In the Coyotes'
case, first-rounders such as rookies Peter Mueller--a probable Calder Trophy
candidate whom coach Wayne Gretzky used on the point of the power play during
exhibition games--and Martin Hanzal will eventually become bona fide
top�six forwards. "I really like how they compete, how unselfish they
are and how they play with urgency," Gretzky says. They could give the
feckless Phoenix attack--captain Shane Doan was the lone 20-goal scorer last
season--a modicum of respectability.