Upgrading Offense An Offseason Priority For Phoenix Coyotes

By Randy Holt
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

As they attempt to determine whether or not their ownership situation will finally reach a conclusion this summer, the Phoenix Coyotes head into the 2013 offseason with a laundry list of things they need to do in order to get back into the playoffs after a disappointing regular season.

At the top of that list is to retain their top free agents. Mike Smith is an unrestricted free agent, Mikkel Boedker is restricted. Not to mention the fact that their head coach is also a free agent this summer and in need of a new deal. Once that’s all taken care of, though, there’s one area of need that will need focus this summer: the offense.

It’s no secret that this Coyotes team is one that is offensively challenged. They have some skilled players on the roster, to be sure. But a combination of a lack of skill on the roster overall and the fact that Dave Tippett employs a system that is built around defense, holds this team back from putting pucks in the net with any regularity.

Two of the Coyotes top scorers, in terms of overall points, in 2013 came from the blue line. Such offense from the defensemen could be a positive if they had the forwards to follow up on it. But having Shane Doan, who is not a top tier offensive forward, as your leading goal scorer isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

The Coyotes have some upper tier offensive talent. Radim Vrbata can pot goals with the best of them, while Boedker represents an up-and-comer as an offensive threat for this team. But the goal this summer will be to get more offensive weapons to make this team more well-rounded. Perhaps they could pull the funds together and acquire Thomas Vanek? Unlikely, but he’s available.

Phoenix ranked 21st in the league in goals per game in 2013 and had the league’s 25th ranked power play. They’re one of the deeper defensive teams in the league, but that only takes a team so far. It will be interesting to see what measures Don Maloney takes towards helping this team on offense this summer.

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