It’s obviously a given that a young player is going to have to “work hard” in order to prove he deserves a spot. In the case of Brandon Gormley, he’s going to have to work extra hard in order to try and earn a spot with an already crowded Phoenix Coyotes defensive group.
Gormley has the chops to be a very successful defenseman in this league. He’s the total package on the blue line, with the lockout-shortened season giving him an extra year to develop. Still, with the Coyotes being one of the deeper defensive teams in the league, can he make an impact?
It would appear that the Coyotes are set, at least for the most part, on their blue line heading into the new season. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Keith Yandle, Zybnek Michalek, and Derek Morris are all locks in the lineup, as is Rostislav Klesla. Which leaves one spot for one of David Schlemko, Chris Summers, or Michael Stone.
Which would leave things looking bleak for Gormley if he was hoping to crack the defensive rotation this season. But there have been whispers of a Klesla trade, and the Coyotes would likely go with Gormley if he could outplay one of the other three options. He certainly has the skill set.
Gormley is an all-around defenseman, capable of providing excellence at both ends of the ice, with decent size as well. What makes him especially intriguing is his prowess as an offensive defenseman. He has a big shot from the point and is an able puck-mover and passer from the blue line. He’d be a tremendous asset on the power play for a Coyotes team that could use some help on the man advantage.
Training camp will likely dictate whether Gormley gets an opportunity with the Coyotes or heads back to the AHL to await a callup later on in the year. He has the tools to succeed, and will have a chance to create an opportunity for himself when training camp rolls around. We’ll see how it shakes out for him.