Countdown to Coyotes Preseason: 27 Days

25 Feb 2000: Teppo Numminen #27 of the Phoenix Coyotes looks on from the ice during the game against the Calgary Flames at the Canadian Airlines Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Coyotes tied the Flames 3-3. Mandatory Credit: Ian Tomlinson /Allsport


The number 27 holds a special place in Phoenix Coyotes history. All one needs to do is look up at the team's Ring of Honor in Jobing.come Arena to see this. The reason the number is among only seven up there is due to play of a 6 foot 2 inch defensemen who hailed from Tampere, Finland by the name of Teppo Numinnen. The Finnish native is unquestionably the greatest blueliner in Coyotes history. His two-way play set a standard no other player who has donned a Coyotes jersey has ever been able to match.

He was drafted by the then Winnipeg Jets in the 2nd round of the 1986 draft. The 1988-89 season was his first one in the NHL. He would go on to the franchise's all-time leader is goals (108), assists (426), and points (534) by a defensemen. The only player to play with the Jets/Coyotes franchise longer than the Numinnen is the man who succeeded him as captain, Shane Doan. He is also second in franchise history in games played behind Doan. 7 of the Fin's 15 seasons with the franchise were spent in the Valley of the Sun. During his time in Phoenix he played in 24 playoff games and was named to the NHL All-Star team three times.

On July 22, 2003 he was traded to the Dallas Stars for Mike Silinger and a conditional draft choice. He played in Dallas for only one season. He signed with the Buffalo Sabres after the 2004-05 NHL lockout. He played 4 seasons for the Sabres. In the middle of his time in Buffalo he wound up having to have open heart surgery which was caused him to miss almost the entire 2007-2008 season. He returned to play 57 games the following season before retiring from the NHL He is currently an assistant coach with the Sabres after being hired in the Fall of 2011 by his former head coach Lindy Ruff.

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