The Coyotes are back for the 2017-18 season and featuring a roster and coaching staff completely renovated from the dark days of rebuilding.
This is the HYPE TRAIN, a 7-day series focused on giving you 7 reasons to get F*****G JACKED for this season’s road hopefully leading back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The evolution of a hockey team is one of the varying facets; you have the acquisitions, the big free agents, the top prospects and the other guys. Over this past year, we’ve seen all four phases of that evolution. You got your Derek Stepan’s and Niklas Hjalmarsson's, and your Alex Goligoski’s. In fact, John Chayka CAN’T STOP contributing to that part of the team’s evolution. [smash that hyperlink into another tab and come on back]
And, of course, we all know as 4-season ‘tanking’ finalists that there are a bunch of good, highly touted rookies who are always in the forefront of our minds.
But lest we forget the fourth group of roster evolution; the other guys. They may have started out as high picks or low picks, but they always show up and every team has them. They’re the guys that you didn’t know you needed until you got ‘em, and it’ll be hard to someday lose them.
The poster children for this is Tobias Rieder Jordan Martinook.
I mean, did you know their name before they made the team out of camp a few years ago? I bet you didn’t.
But the key is this: these guys show up every day and grind. They work their butts off to make your team better. And these guys don’t need any extra hyping. I don’t even need to scream it. They are extraordinary players, and I want to introduce you to a few that will be meandering their way onto a TV screen near you during the course of the season.
- Mario Kempe: He’s not young, and he hasn’t been around in the league at all. He came over from Sweden this past offseason and he’s put on a show in camp. If he doesn’t make the team outright, it will be an absolute shame. He’s got a gem of a wrister and is sneaky fast. But he’s not young, and that’s what makes him valuable to this young team. He can be that mentor for the young snipers on the team. I’ll also be upset if we do not begin to refer to him as the Swedish Chef once he gets into a game and scores some kind of amazing goal.
- Brendan Perlini: Perl has been on the team already and yes he was a former first rounder, but after an injury in Junior, many had written him off. I admit I was one of those people.
And I was also wrong about him. Perlini lit up Tucson for the short time he was there, then came up and contributed with the NHL club. He’s certainly a lock to make this team, but you should be hyped because he’s the guy that will chase a puck 200 feet for you and win that race. He’s the guy that potentially slot into a point role on a power play with some more bulk and he’s most certainly the guy that can help complement Dylan Strome’s play down the road. He developed in Juniors under the radar, but he’s a guy that will contribute to this lineup for a long time.
However I would not recommend the Dbacks sign him for their Wild Card game this week- his release point is WAAAAAY too early.
- Christian Fischer: Fisch may seem like a confusing addition to the ‘Other Guys’ category. He was an early second rounder. He had an absolutely amazing career in Juniors. But he was never a top competitor to make the team out of camp until now. He was sent down to Tucson last year and back to Juniors before that. The dude can play. He scored three goals on his first three shots. I mean, that’s pretty stellar. Give him a full season and watch out for something in the ballpark of 20/15 for 35 conservatively. Also, Christian doesn’t like it when you hit the glass after a goal. It gives him flashbacks.
- Nick Merkley: Nick isn’t gonna make the team outright; he’s already been demoted to Tucson. And I don’t doubt some professional seasoning will do him well. But when not if Merkley gets the call-up to Glendale, it’ll be a show. Since recovering from a pretty severe injury in Juniors, he came to Development Camp this summer and performed. He was, beyond Keller, the most notable forward skating. Every player defines for themselves what kind of NHLer they’ll become. Some people have them pegged for one role, but they ultimately fulfill another. I have no clue what role Nick Merkley will take one, but I can tell you he will turn heads doing it.
- Lawson Crouse: The Coyotes have already experienced ‘Law’ and Order. So did PK Subban actually. To quote Nasher, “PK chose the wrong door”. Crouse is not a fighter though, despite thoroughly flinging PK around the ice in that tilt. He’s only dropped ‘em four times in the NHL during the regular season and I don’t expect that number to rise astoundingly. Crouse struggled under the Tippett regime, and many still question his worth. I, on the underhand, see an opportunity to hype him. He’s now the underdog. He’s got to fight for ice time. He’s got to fight for his right to party, so to speak. And I think with a new coach and some better linemates, such as Strome or Dvorak, we may see a new dimension to his game we haven’t fully seen. And THAT is always exciting to think about.
Now, you may not have noticed, but I was far more sedated for this edition of the Hype Train series. You might ask, “Hey Temesy, what’s goin on? Why so down?”
I’M NOT DOWN, I’M JUST QUIETLY WAITING FOR THINGS TO GET STARTED. THE QUIET BEFORE THE STORM!
But I’m also calmer because I’ve been listening to classical orchestral music all day. Extrapolate my reasons as you will, but do know that these guys will make a difference on this Coyotes team, and they should in no way be left out of your excitement on Opening Night.