Coyotes AHL/ECHL prospects season review

By Jeff Dahlia

Things didn’t go very well for the Coyotes top affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, this year. The Rampage finished with a 23-50-3 record, the fewest wins in the league, most losses. Their 53 points put them dead last as did their 153 goals scored.

Forwards

Even though the organization continued to make moves to help bolster the attack, there was little they could do. Known primarily as a defensive forward, Randall Gelech actually led all the prospects in scoring with 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) in 75 games played. He logged 39 penalty minutes and had a team high minus-36. Former first round draft pick Jakub Koreis continued to struggle as he finished the season with eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 70 games played. He is fast becoming the Coyotes’ biggest bust. Martin Podlesak (out since November 2005 with concussion) did not return to the Rampage and he finished the season with 13 games played, while scoring eight points (2 goals, 6 assists).

Towards the end of the year, the Coyotes traded away Tim Jackman to the Los Angeles Kings in order to reacquire Yanick Lehoux. In two stints with the Rampage, Lehoux played 23 games, while scoring 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists). Overall, he finished the season with 30 points (18 goals, 12 assists) in 54 games played. He accumulated 36 penalty minutes and was a minus-6.

The team also traded defenseman Sean O’Donnell to Anaheim for prospect Joel Perrault and a 2006 draft pick. Perrault saw action in 12 games, scoring seven points (1 goal, 6 assists), logged four penalty minutes and was a plus-5. Overall, he saw action in 37 games, scored 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists), accumulated 24 penalty minutes and was a plus-9.

Defense

While the Coyotes have depth in their prospect pool when it comes to defensemen, Matt Jones was the only rearguard to really standout this year. In his first season as a pro, Jones showed to be both hungry and effective on the blue line. He finished the season with 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists) in 59 games played, logged 46 penalty minutes and was a minus-17. Jones was also named to the league’s PlanetUSA All-Star squad, but couldn’t attend due to an injury.

Joe Callahan made a lot of progress with his game, but needs to continue to work on moving the puck out of his zone and up the ice with a bit more urgency. He finished the season with six points (1 goal, 5 assists) and 88 penalty minutes, while playing in all 80 games. His minus-14 is a big improvement from last season where he finished with a minus-35.

Matthew Spiller had an average year for the Rampage finishing with (2 goals, 7 assists) in 69 games played. While Spiller was once again the heart and soul of the group, the defensive-defenseman also played the part as the enforcer, racking up 167 penalty minutes. However, he finished with a minus-20, which was the worst among the Coyotes defensive prospects.

Goaltending

After seeing time with the Coyotes early on in the season as a backup to Curtis Joseph, David LeNeveu returned to San Antonio to get his minutes in and continue to pad his experience in the AHL. While he can handle the talent in the league, he seemed overburdened at times. LeNeveu still had respectable numbers going 10-12-6 in 28 games played. He finished with a 2.92 goals against average; a .921 save percentage and snuck in two shutouts.

Lukes and Kouba Champs with Laredo

While Frank Lukes saw action in 26 games with Rampage, he did all his damage in the Central Hockey League with the Laredo Bucks. In 40 games, he scored 33 points (5 goals, 38 assists). He logged 18 penalty minutes and was a plus-20. Ladislav Kouba also played this season with the Bucks after spending time between the ECHL and CHL last year. He scored 53 points (26 goals, 27 assists) in 61 games, amassed 50 penalty minutes and was a plus-36.

Both Lukes and Kouba were a big part of the Bucks postseason success, as the Bucks captured their second title over the last three seasons.

Two prospects skate for the expansion Stockton Thunder

Former WHL sniper Lance Monych also saw action with San Antonio this season, but he was scoreless in 37 games and registered a minus-10. Once he was sent down to Stockton of the ECHL, he began to fit in, scoring 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 26 games played.

The Thunder also had the services of tough guy Landon Bathe early on this past season. Although, his season ended prematurely as he tore his ACL in a Dec. 17 match-up against the Las Vegas Wranglers. Before going down, he played in 16 games, gathering three points (all assists) and logging 43 penalty minutes.



Shop for Phoenix Coyotes Men’s Apparel at Shop.NHL.com


Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.