The more things change the more they stay the same. Another day closer to preseason puckdrop and another sweater number to countdown. The forties haven't exactly been replete with memorable performances by players wearing the Coyote crest or even being on the ice. The trend continues today as 45 comes into view.
Five different players have worn the number to some effect over the course of the Jets/Coyotes franchise. Craig Duncanson did so for 7 games in the 90/91 season. That was more than Anatoli Fedotov (1 game only for Winnepeg, Janurary 23, 1993) and Jason Jaspers (4 games during the 01/02 season and his second number on this list) combined. That leaves us with two players who actually had somewhat of an NHL impact during their time in the league.
The first is Dmitri Kalinin. Kalinin was brought to Phoenix along with Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha in a deadline day deal for Derek Morris on March 4, 2009. Kalinin actually played 539 NHL games over 9 seasons putting up 36 goals and 162 points in his career. Overall, not horrible numbers but he only played 15 games as a Coyote with 1 goal and 3 assists to his credit for his time in the desert. After the conclusion of the 2009 season, he would sign a contract with Ufa and bolt to the KHL.
Which leaves us with the best player to wear number 45 as a Coyote and that man is Brad Ference. He only played 250 games in the NHL, but he did spend 78 of them with the Yotes, totaling 6 assists in that time (he only scored a career total of 34 points, so it's not like he was an offensive defenseman). Known more for being a tough guy, he did manage to spend 131 minutes in the sin bin during his stay in the Valley. While not as impactful a player on the score sheet as Kalinin, Ference did actually manage to spend more than a coffee break in Phoenix. That alone would catapult him ahead of Dmitri, but when added to the fact that after retiring Ference would go on to become a firefighter in Calgary, it's clear he is the greatest number 45 in Coyote history.
Stay tuned, because tomorrow we actually get a good number for discussion and a truly great forgotten player.