I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that today is the final day of the countdown that exists in the forties. Without doubt, lean times existed in these numbers, let me tell you what. Somehow you gotta plow through and today is no different. The number 40 enters the spotlight and it's not one that has been particularly kind to Coyotes fans. In fact, I have a feeling that the conclusion I reach is going to anger quite a few people.
In total, 6 players have worn 40 on their person for the Jets/Coyotes franchise. Four of them were skaters with two goalies. The four skaters, Joel Baillargeon (1986-88), Steven Fletcher (89), Evgeny Davydov (1992), and finally Mike Ricci (2006-2007) combined for 115 games scoring 14 goals, 12 assists and 26 points. The two goalies, Patrick DesRochers (2002-2003) and Jean-Marc Pelletier (2003) played in 11 games, earning 1 win (1 WIN!!!) against 7 losses. With that mind blowing resume, who can possibly be the greatest sweater number 40 in Coyote history?
The answer is pretty simple, Henrik Zetterberg. Before you all grab your torches and pitchforks and come to burn my castle down and chase me out of the village, hear me out. In 37 career regular season games against the Coyotes, Zetterberg has put up 17 goals, 29 assists, and 46 points (he's been held pointless in only 11 of those 37 games and 4 of those games happened before the first lockout) and the Red Wings went 24-11-2 in those 37 games (including winning 8 in a row from October 11, 2006 to January 20, 2009). To put those 37 game numbers into perspective, his 46 points were 16 more than Yandle had last season as our leading scorer in 48 games, and his 17 goals also would have been a team leading total last year. That doesn't even take into account his playoff numbers against the Yotes. He has played 7 games against the Coyotes in the postseason (all of them in the fantastic seven game heartbreaker from the 2010 first round; he didn't play in the 4 game sweep the following season) and put up 6 goals and 5 assists in those 7 games.
Zetterberg is the quintessential Coyote killer and like it or not, he is the greatest sweater number 40 in Coyote franchise history.