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Phoenix Coyotes Preseason Countdown: Keith Yandle & David Rundblad on the Power Play Together?

Today’s Countdown post involves two blueliners, who happen to wear the combination of the numbers 3 & 2 and might be able to lift the Coyotes power play out of the doldrums.


Imagine a scenario whereby the Phoenix Coyotes could possibly improve their power play and overall team play at the same time. Such a scenario may be available to Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett when the preseason begins in 32 days; using simply a 3 and a 2.

In an effort to jump start the power play (PP), Tippett could place defensemen Keith Yandle (#3) and David Rundblad (#2) on the points with the first team power play. Yandle has led the Coyotes defensive corps in PP goals three out of the last four years including leading the entire team in PP goals last season. His above average skating speed allows him to bring the puck into the zone instead of being forced to pass the puck to a forward. Rundblad has a similar skill set and is arguably a better passer/decision maker in the offensive zone, which makes him a natural power play quarterback.

The obvious concern with putting two offensive-minded blueliners together is short handed goal opportunities for opposing teams. While short handed goals are a risk with the pairing, their skating speed will help nullify concerns about their offensive zone aggressiveness and decision making.

Placing Rundblad on the first team power play would mean Oliver Ekman-Larsson (OEL) would find his way onto the second power play unit. OEL led the team in every time on ice category last season, including on the power play. The 3/2 combination of would allow Tippett to play the young Swede a bit more at even strength. Ekman-Larsson, even at the age of 22, is the team's best all-around defensemen. This scenario also would allow Tippett to play Rundblad in more offensive scenarios while allowing OEL to rest from playing heavy penalty kill and even strength minutes.