The Phoenix Coyotes were eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week, pretty much closing the book on an up-and-down season. While this season doesn’t come with the positives that their trip to the Western Conference Finals did last year, the 2013 season hasn’t proven to be a total loss for Phoenix.
First of all, they’re still here. They didn’t move. And they could be in the desert for the long haul. So that’s an obvious positive for this organization. But look at the actual players on the ice, there are still some positives to take away. Those positives surround their young talent, in particular.
You really can’t say enough about what Oliver Ekman-Larsson meant to this team this year. He had something of a breakout year and did a little bit of everything for the Coyotes. He emerged as a Norris Trophy candidate early on and ended up signing a long-term deal.
Ekman-Larsson went through the wear and tear of logging big minutes, which certainly took their toll down the stretch. But he still finished with 23 points on the year, just three points off of the team lead. He’s a budding superstar in the desert, but he’s not the only young player flashing some serious potential.
The Coyotes had been waiting on Mikkel Boedker to develop for quite some time. He’s finally beginning to emerge as a legitimate top six player. If this was a full season, he would have blown away his career point totals. He finished with 25 points in 46 games. His speed makes him deadly and he’s going to be a good one.
But don’t sleep on Rob Klinkhammer either. He didn’t blow anyone away, but given an opportunity for the first time in his career, Klinkhammer was mighty impressive. He finished with 10 points in 20 games and a whole bunch of hits. He’s one to watch for the future.
The Coyotes have a pretty bright future. They’ll need to add some offense over the summer, but they have some young players in place. Those young players are some of the only positives that this team can take away, having unexpectedly missed the playoffs in 2013.