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: Andy Miele may yet see time in Phoenix during the 2013-14 season, but he will open the year in AHL Portland (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The 2013-14 season will be a “put-up or shut-up” campaign for Phoenix Coyotes prospects at all levels. This season will determine whether Andy Miele belongs in the NHL and whether players like Brendan Burke and Samuel Fejes are even legitimate prospects.
Photo: Finnish forward Alexander Ruuttu has yet to break through in the SM-liiga, but after a mid-season trade from Jokerit to Ilves, he could get a bigger shot in 2013-14 (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Thanks to most of their NCAA prospects recently making the jump to professional hockey, the Phoenix Coyotes do not have a large number of European and collegiate prospects. Fortunately for them, the ones they do have continue to get better with each passing season. From adjusting in their freshman seasons to being introduced to the European professional leagues, most of these prospects enjoyed successful seasons in 2012-13.
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.