Friday, September 5, 2008

Coyotes Had a “Tough” Offseason

The Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said his goal this off-season was to get more toughness and that is exactly what he did. Maloney acquired several players who are known to get on the stat sheet, not in the points department but in penalty minutes. These players include Brian McGrattan, Todd Fedoruk, Francis Lessard, and Garth Murray.

McGrattan is probably pound for pound the toughest guy in the bunch. He is a great player for protecting star players like Kyle Turris and Peter Meuller. He is also definitely not afraid of dropping the gloves from time to time. The problem with McGrattan is has absolutely no offensive skills.

This lack of offense will keep him from getting a regular spot in the lineup. Todd Fedoruk is probably the most skilled of these players because he can play both sides of the game. Earlier in his career Fedoruk was a pure fighter but now has realized that if he wants to keep a spot on an NHL roster he has to be more than a one dimensional player.

If given a decent amount of playing time Fedoruk is capable of producing a decent amount of points. It is because of this that Fedoruk will probably see a regular spot on the Coyotes lineup. When it comes to Francis Lessard, he is clearly a minor league depth guy.

This is especially true since the Coyotes signed a few similar players who have more talent and experience than Lessard. Although he will still add lots of grit for the Coyotes AHL affiliates the San Antonio Rampage. He will be relied on to protect the Coyotes up and coming players like Brett Maclean and Chad Kolarik.

Lastly, we have Garth Murray. He is a player who has the talent to play in the NHL but has probably run out of chances for the time being. Murray is a great checker who can occasionally pop in a goal or two when the time comes.

Murray will probably start out in the American Hockey League to begin the season. If he can produce at that level like he has before, he will probably get a shot at cracking the lineup later on in the season. The Coyotes wanted to add toughness and that is exactly what they got.

Not only did they add grit for their NHL team but they also added grit for the Rampage. Daniel Carcillo who was previously relied on to be the Coyotes go to fighter now has a chance to display his offensive talent. One thing is for sure the Coyotes certainly won’t be pushovers come next season.

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