Photo: Arizona’s 2011 first-round pick Connor Murphy has developed into an NHL defender, as well as a consistent blueliner for Team USA (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)
The 2010-11 season produced a playoff berth for the Phoenix Coyotes, but one that ended poorly, in a sweep at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. With that bitter defeat in mind, and having conceded 18 goals in those four games, toughness seemed to be the foremost goal at the draft table. The offensive flair the Coyotes have added in recent years is missing, but some of these players have indeed gone on to help the franchise’s cause.
Photo: Louis Domingue used an impressive 2013-14 season to solidify himself as the starter for the AHL’s Portland Pirates in 2014-15. (courtesy of John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)
The Arizona Coyotes have actively addressed the composition of their prospect pool since the 2013-14 trade deadline. A year ago, there was a logjam of talented defensemen throughout their pipeline. At the deadline, general manager Dave Maloney traded David Rundblad to the Chicago Blackhawks. At the 2014 NHL Draft, the Coyotes grabbed seven forwards while only selecting two defensemen, both in the late rounds.
Photo: Chris Brown has been one of the top forwards for the Portland Pirates in 2013-14, which has earned him time with the NHL club (courtesy of Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Legal squabbles between the Board of Trustees of Portland, Maine’s Cumberland County Civic Center and the ownership group of their primary tenant, the Portland Pirates, have relegated the team to the northern reaches of Maine for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, on the ice, the Phoenix Coyotes AHL affiliate finds themselves in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings.
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: 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.