While the Coyotes certainly aren't short on talented defensive prospects, what they are lacking in is depth at the position that's ready to play right this minute. Things get a little thin after The top six and that's including Oliver Ekman-Laarson in that last pairing. Brandon Gormley and Maxim Goncharov both seem to be top flight guys that will be good as well as Chris Summers, but all of them are still pretty young and raw. That's not to say that they couldn't make the jump, but The Coyotes could really use someone that could just chew up some ice time. Like with the centers, let's see who they've got and who they might be able to get. Remember, we're assuming RFAs get re-signed here.
Who the Coyotes Have:
Keith Yandle: But not for Shane Doan, he'd likely be Captain of this team already. A young guy that just looks better and better year after year he's going to get a payday from the team. Hopefully for a long term deal. Either way, he's and excellent defenseman, has picked up his defensive play and was huge for the team on the Power Play
Adrian Aucoin: Sure he's getting up there in age a bit, but he's still a solid guy that can play a good chunk of minutes and not cost the team much. He didn't really get to be in the shootout much last season. That's kind of sad.
Derek Morris: Great guy, but to say he was a little off last season might be an understatement. He just seemed to be floating out there a bit and had mental errors though. He's not going anywhere though as he's signed through 2014
Michal Rozsival: Has a high cap hit at 5 Million, but is actually paid less than than in salary, he's a bit pricey, but played well in his time here.
David Schlemko: Is a promising enough young player, and showed flashes of jumping in the play like Keith Yandle. Unfortunately he also got burned on defense when he did like Keith Yandle of 3 years ago. Also lost time to a concussion which is worrying for young guys.
Rostislav Klesla: Well we did trade Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto in order to get him, and while the oft hurt blueliner didn't play badly, he's a little pricey. Not that that hurts as the team might be struggling to get to the salary floor.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson: He didn't get regular playing time with the Coyotes last season, but we certainly saw flashes of what kind of player he could be. With defense among the least of the Coyotes' concerns he could be a big part on this year's team.
On the Farm (Or Juniors, whatever):
This list is actually pretty long so just a quick overview:
Brandon Gormley - Last Year's 1st Round pick, played a few games in San Antonio to finish the season which I think means he's done in juniors now.
Maxim Goncharov - The big Russian skater plays a physical game but doesn't generate a ton of points. At least not yet.
Chris Summers - Saw a few games with the big team and wasn't too bad. He's still got room to grow, but he'll likely hover at the #7 spot this season.
Who Can They Get:
Re-Sign Ed Jovanovski: Hahahaha. No.
Anton Babchuk: Sure he's bounced around between the NHL and KHL, but between the Canes and Flames last year he had 11 goals 24 assists for 35 points. With his iffy history he's one of those guys that GMDM could take a chance on and have the young guys as backup.
Sami Lepisto: Hey, at least he's a known quantity. If he was just part of that trade for salary he's an available UFA.
Who else can we go get? Here's the list of UFAs and RFAs. The pickings are kind of slim in the middle.