The Phoenix Coyotes Player Previews Continue today with Paul Bissonnette. Hey look 2 days in a row! No wai!
For much of his tenure with the Phoenix Coyotes Paul Bissonnette has basically had two functions. First to be the DJ in the locker room, a job at which he has apparently done well, and second to entertain the fans. He did quite well at this over the summer with his now defunct twitter account and now with an almost as funny facebook page with way too many pictures of him in a Speedo. In terms of actual hockey he played fairly well when he got the chance this past season, dropped the mitts at the right times and wasn't a liability out there. Unfortunately he didn't get a whole lot of chances to shine as he was a frequent scratch. That could all change this coming season though...
With the Coyotes a little thin pretty much everywhere there will be a lot of nights that Biz could get into the lineup in more than just an enforcer role. While having that guy that will fight is always important, if the Coyotes didn't think he was capable of more they could have signed any number of other players to serve that function. Indeed the Coyotes resigned Paul over the summer to a 2 year 1.225 million dollar deal. Sure that's an inexpensive deal, but GM Don Maloney isn't one to waste a contract on a one dimensional player if he can at all help it. That tells me that they have more in store for Paul than 3 or 4 minutes against the Ducks and hitting the press box for 3 games before playing again.
How he plays offensively will be the key to his getting the minutes though. He showed flashes of being that guy that can camp in the crease and get a deflection, but his time on the ice wasn't consistent enough to really get a good idea of if that would work. One thing is for sure though, if Dave Tippett is going to play him he needs to give him a regular shift even if it's on the 4th line. What ended up happening last season was Bissonnette would play a fraction of the time as his linemates and Doan or another top line guy would double shift for portions of the game. That simply can't happen this season. It was infuriating to watch simply because I would watch top players being gassed for no reason when Biz was fairly responsible when he was on the ice.
At the moment the Coyotes have only 11 forwards signed to deals, though some of the San Antonio guys (turris, tikhonov and possibly Boedker and MacLean) looking to break in to the lineup and Martin Hanzal will nearly certain to be signed. There will be competition for spots, but we're laking some of the physicality and Bissonnette being in the line up could keep our skill guys from getting run. It's better than Hanzal and Doan fighting everyone because that doesn't end well.
Season Prediction: He's not going to set any scoring records, but I think he could get at least 8 goals and 8 assists if he gets regular ice time instead of garbage minutes. That also assumes that he starts more than the 41 games he played this past season. More importantly I think with the offseason antics he becomes a bigger fan favorite a la Daniel Carcillo, minus the locker room temper Danny had. He'll drop the gloves at good moments and should charge up the fans nicely. Though the ladies might not find him as pretty as Carcillo ;) With the same assumptions as above he could have 150 PIM mostly through those fights.