GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 07: Alexander Radulov #47 of the Nashville Predators is knocked down by Adrian Aucoin #33 of the Phoenix Coyotes as he attempts to control the puck in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 7, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Today's Countdown number was also the number worn by former Phoenix Coyotes blueliner Adrian Aucoin. While the 39 year old defensemen is no longer a Desert Dog, having signed a one year deal with Columbus this off-season, the experience and leadership he brought to the Valley's hockey club will continue to pay dividends not only this season, but long after the veteran retires from the game. Aucoin was never what you would call a fan favorite. He wasn't the type of flashy player people are drawn to. His lack of skating speed and offensive punch led some to criticize his play. However, Aucoin's importance to the franchise was never about flashy stats. The Ottawa native was solid stay at home defensemen who helped steady the Coyotes blueline for Coach Dave Tippett, while also helping mentor younger members of the Coyotes defensive corps.
Aucoin came to the Valley as a free agent prior to the 2009-2010 season. The following summer he signed a two year deal to stay in Phoenix. In total, he played in 221 regular season and 22 post-season games for the Coyotes. In those 243 contests he scored 13 goals and recorded 50 assists. His most successful season in the Valley from an individual standpoint was his first one. He played all 82 regular season games for only the second time in his career in 2009-2010. He also led the league in shootout goals with 6. His shootout goal prowess was instrumental in helping the Yotes reach the playoffs. For the rest of his time in Phoenix he was the defensemen least likely to be noticed on the ice. He took care of business in the Coyotes end and allowed his partners, including Oliver Ekman-Larsson this past season, to focus on jumping into the play and putting up points. Aucoin is one of those players who will likely be more appreciated after he's gone then during his time playing in Phoenix.