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: Selected sixth overall in 2009, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has developed into a top-pairing defenseman and ice-time leader for the Coyotes (courtesy of Derik Hamilton/Icon SMI)
The Phoenix Coyotes changed in the 2009 offseason. Before, they were a mediocre, punch line of a club that could always be found toward the bottom of the standings. After, they were playoff fixtures, culminating in a deep run to the Western Conference Finals in 2011-12.
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: 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.