GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23: Martin Hanzal #11 of the Phoenix Coyotes reacts after taking a stick to the face during the thrid period of the NHL game against the St. Louis Blues at Jobing.com Arena on December 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Blues defeated the Coyotes 3-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
With all of the recent injuries that have plagued the Phoenix Coyotes, several call-ups from the AHL affiliate Portland Pirates have been necessary by GM Don Maloney. While Dave Tippett has been juggling his lines to adapt the losses of Martin Hanzal and Boyd Gordon have left a gaping hole down the center in the desert. While Andy Miele and Marc-Antoine Pouliot have worked to fill these gaps, if last night's game in Minnesota is any gauge (Coyotes went 18-46 in the faceoff dot), they need those guys to come back ASAP.
Additionally, although starting the season scoring at a much higher pace, the goal scoring has tapered off a bit in recent weeks and the 'Yotes now sit a disappointing 20th in the league in goals scored per game (2.56), while sitting a much more respectable 10th in goals allowed per game (2.59).
With the depth of the defense being the strength of the team particularly with the strong play from David Schlemko and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Derek Morris has seen several games recently from the press box with David Rundblad), the obvious answer is that future call-ups could come on the offensive side of the ice taking time from guys that have not really been lighting it up like Paul Bissonnette, Kyle Chipchura, Patrick O'Sullivan and Cal O'Reilly. Not that I think those guys have been bad, per se, but a bit of offensive punch might be nice. So after the jump, a few guys that we might be seeing getting the call up in the near future.
Brett MacLean: The former Coyote had a few goals in limited ice time with the team last year before being claimed off of waivers by Winnipeg earlier this year and then returned to the Coyotes on waivers. In 23 games with the Pirates thus far, MacLean has 13 goals and 9 assists to lead the team in goals. He is definitely a sniper and impressed me with his ability to go to the net last season. Whether his skating is up to par at this level remained the biggest question for the Coyotes but I would be surprised if he doesn't make another appearance in the desert soon, especially if the power play continues to languish (6 power play goals already for MacLean this year).
Andy Miele: We haven't seen as much from the Hobey Baker winner as we might have wanted in his first two call-ups, but I think the pressure of playing center at this level may be a bit much for the former Miami of Ohio star. He definitely has shown good instincts on the ice and had a few nice chances in the game against Boston, including a willingness to throw his slightly smaller than average size around. Apparently in his last game in Portland he was playing off the wing which may be a sign that the Coyotes want him to move there for his next call-up to the big club...he, naturally, responded with a goal and an assist.
Brock Trotter: Trotter was acquired by the Pirates from the Hamilton Bulldogs and has stepped right in and played at a high level. He's a natural center, so perhaps he will be the next in the rotation there if Gordon and Hanzal stay out for a lengthy stay. With the Pirates, in his 17 games, he has 6 goals and 10 assists and is one of the leading scorers on the team.