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: Rookie goaltender Mark Visentin, the Coyotes 27th overall pick in 2010, appeared in 30 games for the AHL’s Portland Pirates in 2012-13 (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
For the first time in four seasons, the Phoenix Coyotes missed the playoffs. After having their most successful postseason in franchise history, the Coyotes struggled to string wins together until it was too late. With a slew of young defensemen looking to make the jump to the next level, the Coyotes are in a position where a good forward can fall right into their laps at the 12th pick.
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: Mikkel Boedker, the Coyotes' eighth overall pick in 2008, currently leads the team with 18 points through 26 games so far this season (courtesy of Chris Pondy/Icon SMI)
For the third consecutive year, the Phoenix Coyotes drafted in the top 10 picks in 2008. The Coyotes now have two players from the 2008 draft who are making the most of their opportunities in the NHL, while a couple more are finding their way at the AHL level.