Can the Coyotes make a playoff push?

Can the Coyotes make a playoff push?
August 17, 2013, 7:45 pm
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(Associated Press)

PHOENIX COYOTES

2012-13: 21-18-9, 51 points

Where they finished: 4th in the Pacific, 10th in the West, 19th in NHL

Coach: Dave Tippett (5th season)

Key additions: C Mike Ribeiro

Key subtractions: C Boyd Gordon, G Jason LaBarbera

Projected lineup

Forwards

Mikkel Boedker – Mike Ribeiro – Radim Vrbata

Shane Doan – Martin Hanzal – Chris Brown

Lauri Korpikoski – Antoine Vermette – David Moss

Rob Klinkhammer – Kyle Chipchura – Brandon Yip

Paul Bissonette

Defensemen

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle – Michael Stone

Rostislav Klesla – Derek Morris

David Schlemko

Goalies

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Our take: In a way this season is already a win for the Coyotes given they are even still in the Phoenix area at all. With their ownership and arena situation finally settled this month, the organization can figure out a plan for the future.

But the damage may have already been done. While a better financial picture allowed the Coyotes to sign free-agent center Mike Ribeiro, they don’t look like a contender in 2013-14.

Smith’s play in goal was a huge factor in Phoenix’s playoff run to the conference finals in 2011-12, but he fell back to earth last season with a .910 save percentage. He’ll have to regain his form if he wants his team to make it back to the postseason at all.

At age 22, Oliver Ekman–Larsson is a legitimate Norris Trophy candidate. Keith Yandle (10 goals) provides scoring punch from the blueline. But even with Ribeiro’s addition there might not be enough skill up front.

Offseason Grade: B

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14?:  No.