Photo: Rookie pro Lucas Lessio broke camp with the Coyotes but was assigned to AHL Portland after three NHL games (courtesy of Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Phoenix Coyotes may have the most unbalanced prospect pool in the league. On defense, they have more legitimate players than places to put them. At forward, they may be forced to convert their young centers to address the scarcity of talent on both wings.
Photo: Coming off a strong rookie season for AHL Portland, defenseman Brandon Gormley remains the top prospect in the Coyotes organization (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
In 1995, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tie Domi knocked New York Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson unconscious with a sucker punch that is still considered one of the dirtiest plays in recent NHL history. This year, their sons could be the ones connecting, on scoring plays rather than right hooks.
Photo: Portland Pirates defenseman Brandon Gormley, who scored 29 points as an AHL rookie, maintains his place atop the Coyotes prospect pool (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Phoenix Coyotes prospect pool is loaded with players who are already playing professional hockey. Most of these players are playing for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate team, the Portland Pirates. With the Pirates recently clinching a playoff spot, these prospects will gain valuable post-season experience early on in their careers.
Photo: Defenseman Connor Murphy, who will compete for a spot on Team USA at the 2013 WJC, is one of three first-round picks on the Phoenix Coyotes' blue line depth chart. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
As has been the case over the past few years, the Phoenix Coyotes prospect pool is built around their strong group of defensive prospects. Elite talents like Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson quickly became franchise cornerstones and gave way to a new crop led by the likes of first-round studs Brandon Gormley, David Rundblad, and Connor Murphy.
Photo: Phoenix Coyotes defensive prospect Brandon Gormley tops the latest ranking of the team's top 20 prospects (courtesy of Paul Hebert/Icon SMI)
Despite last season’s acquisition of highly-regarded Swedish defenseman David Rundblad, 20-year-old blueliner Brandon Gormley has become the Phoenix Coyotes top prospect and headlines an ever improving group in the fall edition of the club’s Top 20 prospects.