Phoenix Coyotes First Quarter Awards

Christian Petersen

Who's the MVP? What's the best moment? Who's the unsung hero? Find out in FFH's first quarter awards!

We are just over a quarter of the way through the 2013-14 NHL season and it's time to hand out some team awards. FFH will hand out six different awards, five individual and one moment.

MVP: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

The 22-year-old Swede is playing as good as ever. Despite facing the toughest competition of any Coyote and the fourth toughest competition of anyone in the NHL, OEL has managed to produce 16 points (4-12-16) in 22 games. Of his four goals, three are game-winners. Ekman-Larsson leads all Coyotes in average time on ice and is tied for fifth in points. He is second among all NHL defensemen in Goals Versus Threshold (GVT), behind only Alex Pietrangelo. OEL plays on the power play (plays 74.6 percent of team's power play time) and kills penalties (plays 55.4 percent of team's short-handed time). Significant defensive zone starts and tough competition but still produces at a high level -- no wonder Hall of Famer Mark Howe would start his team with Ekman-Larsson.

Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Martin Hanzal

Hanzal has been a point-per-game player to start the season with 19 points in 19 games. Like Ekman-Larsson, Hanzal has started more often than not in the defensive zone against high quality of competition (second highest of any Coyote forward). He's played more than half of the team's total power play time and has five power play points. Hanzal is also winning more than 52 percent of his faceoffs. His great offensive start is a big reason why Phoenix has begun the season as hot as they have.

Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

To the surprise of no one, Ekman-Larsson shows up against on this list as the defensive MVP. He's played every single game this season, in all situations. Relatively few goals have gone in when OEL has been on the ice considering the amount of minutes and quality of competition he has faced. A possible Norris Trophy awaits the young Swede.

Unsung Hero: David Moss

Moss quietly goes about his business on the third line without much fanfare. Some would be surprised to learn that Moss has the best 5-on-5 Corsi for percentage (51.1 percent) on any Coyotes forward, and second highest on the team, despite playing against slightly above average competition. He also draws far more penalties (1.5/60 minutes) than he takes (.4/60 minutes). Moss has played all 22 games and scored eight points (1-7-8). He also plays significant short-handed time (41.8 percent of team's total time). While he will rarely make an NHL highlight show, Moss' contributions to the Coyotes should not be overlooked or undervalued.

Best New Player: Mike Ribeiro

Many fans could have predicted this one when the offensively gifted forward signed with Phoenix in July. Ribeiro has made the most of his favorable zone starts en route to scoring six goals and 16 points in his first 22 games with the Coyotes. He's played more than 70 percent of the team's total power play time, but has played more penalty kill time than he has in the past couple years. The 33-year-old has been a bit up-and down at times, but has recorded a point in 12 of the last 19 games.

Best Moment: Goalie Goal

A great goal by Mike Smith after a big win. You can relive this moment through the final six seconds of the game here.

Agree with the choices? Disagree? Let us know in the comment section below!

Thanks to Behind the Net and Extra Skater for advanced metrics.

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