Good afternoon, Phoenix Coyotes fans. This week we are joined in the Roundtable by Monique Reaux, who is the person behind the blog, Coyotes Hip Check. You can follow the blog on Facebook and Twitter. In this week's edition we discuss the Coyotes prospect pool, potential players the team might trade for, and the winning streak.
What do you think is the impetus for the current 8 game winning streak?
Travis: The Coyotes rediscovery that playing solid defense wins games. They've really locked down and gotten back to the way they know they work well rather than trying to fly and score a ton of goals. The end result is they they're kind of doing both. Outscoring the rest of the division and winning when guys block shots or pick up the hitting.
Monique: The boys can smell the finish line. They've done so much with nothing for so long that now guys are getting healthy and making an impact every night and it makes all the difference in the world. It isn't any one thing, it is a bunch of little things.Vancouver stung their pride... big time. Much like the Sharks a couple of years ago after a New Years 8 - 0 spanking, they went on a tear of epic proportions. Sometimes it takes something like that to stir up a consistent effort. We've been hurt and we have some guys with a bit of age on them. They seem to have made up their minds to go the distance (for some it might be the last chance to do it). They may be a bunch of rag tag no namers but they are all game as heck. With Bryz back in focus as their lynchpin, the guys have their confidence back and they are playing for each other again.That confidence and that fidelity to each other makes all the difference in the world.
Carl: The team appears to have made an effort to get back to playing the smothering defensive style they played late last season. In addition, Bryz looks to be back to his old self again. The team is playing like a team that is confident in themselves and when that happens a team becomes dangerous.
With a cabinet full of prospects that could be packaged in a deal or get a chance with the NHL club, talk a bit about prospects that you're most excited about, whether they be at the AHL or Junior level. Who could help now? Next year? In three years?
Travis: I'm still waiting for the day that the "kid line" or the BMT line as I call them finally gets regular playing time. In the one game they actually stayed together it was a lot of fun and they looked good together. Thanks to the regime back then for rushing them into NHL play and not developing them the way they should have. I'm also excited for the future of our blueline. With guys like Chris Summers, Maxim Goncharov and Brandon Gormley coming up in the near future we should be solid on the back end for a long long time.
Monique: Now? I don't think anyone is absolutely ready to make an impact right this minute but if Maclean can keep stepping his game up (and get his skating up to par), he might be a serious contender for a forward spot for next season. Next year may be the year of the farm raised blueliner. We have quite a few older blueliners that will be hobbling off to retirement/greener pastures and Goncharov and Summers will probably get first shot at the big stage, which should be interesting as we've seen a little of them this year and they appear to be pretty close to NHL quality.
In three years the name Mark Visentin comes to mind here. We can't afford Bryzzie forever and of course even though Breezy just seems to be getting better with age we know the work load of a #1 goalie will take its toll eventually and Mach V may be the homegrown franchise goalie that takes up where Bryz leaves off. Michael Stone and Gormley should be ready to hit the blueline right about then too which will make us young but really talented and ready to keep setting the NHL on its ears.
Carl: The problem with the cabinet is that it is defensemen heavy. Realistically the only guy at the AHL level who can help right now is probably MacLean with Yonkman and Ebbet already playing for the Yotes at the moment, plus those two are depth vets who I wouldn't term as ‘prospects'. I agree with Monique that next season the guys most likely to get a look are Summers and Gonch. As far as three years from now, I expect Gormley to be in the lineup as well. The two other players I think may potentially help the Yotes by that point are Oscar Lindberg and Michael Stone.
Over the last week or two a number of player names have surfaced in trade rumor discussions throughout the league. The Coyotes themselves have been seen scouting GMDM's old team and frequent trading partner, the New York Rangers. Is there anyone on or off the trade radar you think the Coyotes could realistically make a move for that would help the team?
Travis: You know it's hard to say what the Coyotes are looking at that they couldn't get simply by calling someone up. Anything they get would have to be in return for a pick and would have to be a player that isn't making a lot of money. Don Maloney himself even said that he's up against his budget. That's not to say they couldn't make a move. They've had scouts in NY as well as Toronto lately so there are pieces to be had it's just a question of return is all. I don't see us going after any big names and I really don't know that any other team's role players would be any better than the guys we have playing right now.
Monique: So many teams are within range, no one really wants to throw in the towel and make the big trades... well not in conference anyway. Our wish list would be for one youngish veteran blueliner and a forward who is defensively sound or scores enough that he makes up for his lack of defense (At least until Tippett can beat that defense first mentality into him). GMDM manages to go back to wells he knows, to go after players he knows. (which is why NYR stays on his radar so much).
I'll preface this wish list with the observation that there just isn't that much out there that looks like enough to disturb our chemistry over... not to mention that there isn't as much dollars in the coffers this season as there was last. If Sheldon Souray didn't have such a reputation as bad juju for a locker room, he might have been a decent pickup with the Oilers shelling out for half his price tag next season. I wouldn't mind stealing Weiss/Wideman from Florida (I shudder to think what they would want in return after the fleecing Don gave them last time he called) or Bogosian from Atlanta could be a steal we could get away with.If we had for positive ownership I might look at the Kovalev/Gonchar twofer as a sweet deal but thats a whole lot of money for a wallet-less team to try to grab. The Oil have a great twofer in Hemsky/Foster but I really can't see us affording any name players to make us better for the post season and beyond.
Carl: Two issues come into play in my mind. The first is money. With new ownership still not in place, it is highly doubtful GMDM will be allowed to go out and get a player/s who adds significant salary to the Coyotes budget. The second issue is need. The Coyotes could use some depth and a bit more scoring punch, but I'd be loathe to give up good prospects or 1st/2nd round draft picks for a short term 3 rd or 4th line rental or D depth. I believe this organization is still a l ways away from having good organizational depth across the board. I'm not saying GMDM shouldn't trade a pick or prospect, just that he needs to be judicious when doing so. As for specific players, I think a guy like Kovalev is intriguing. I'd love to see Penner or Weiss in a Coyotes uniform, but I'm not convinced they are being shopped and if they are the price tag will be large. In the end, I suspect GMDM goes after a guy like Marty Reasoner. And I've got no problems with that.