Each fall, hockey fans are introduced to a new group of phenoms. Many years ago when a terrific young junior defender would get drafted, you’d see articles with titles like “Potvin: the next Orr?” or “Can Lafleur replace Beliveau?” and each team would have one or two ridiculous talents each season.
The Phoenix Coyotes have 12 every year. Seriously. Their list of rookies is so exceptional this winter:
- Mikkel Boedker 33gp, 7-9-16 +4
- Kyle Turris 31gp, 5-6-11 -5
- Kevin Porter 26gp, 5-5-10 +1
- Viktor Tikhonov 33gp, 2-3-6 E
Don’t like that list? Oh, okay. Let’s run last season’s rookies:
- Peter Mueller 81gp, 22-32-54 -13
- Martin Hanzal 72gp, 8-27-35 -7
- Daniel Winnik 79gp, 11-15-26 -3
- Dan Carcillo 57gp, 11-13-24 +1
- Keith Yandle 43gp, 5-7-12 -12
- Enver Lisin 13gp, 4-1-5 -5
Admit it: you think I’m making some of these names up. IS there a Daniel Winnik? Yes there is. The Phoenix Coyotes have some tremendous young talent and seem to have traction this season. A team falling out of playoff contention could make a long list of attractive young players as possible return for a Dwayne Roloson, a Steve Staios, an Ethan Moreau, an Erik Cole.
The Edmonton Oilers will win tonight. There’s no doubt in my mind. Their recent troubles have come at the hands of clearly superior teams and Phoenix is in the same area code as Edmonton (in terms of difficulty). I expect Ales Hemsky will have a big game and the Oilers win by three or more. It’ll also be fun to see which young players a fan might like to see flying north when the swallows come back to Capistrano.