By Shane Darrow on June 30, 2014
The Arizona Coyotes will enter next season with a new name and a slew of new, young talent. After already making a few moves this offseason, the Coyotes have shown that they believe they can be a contender next season. Here are five players they should build around for next season.
Sam Gagner was traded twice in the same day but eventually ended up with the Coyotes. Gagner is only 24 years old and already has 295 career points in the NHL. He needs some work in the defensive zone, but Gagner is an underrated goal scorer who will bring some flair and excitement to the Coyotes' offense.
Brendan Perlini was drafted No. 12 overall by the Coyotes and, in my opinion, will surprisingly make the roster. After three years in the Ontario Hockey League, Perlini's game has continued to develop, and he will be mentored by Shane Doan as he tries to make a splash on the biggest stage.
Keith Yandle has been a staple in Arizona for years now and has finally developed his game offensively. As a defenseman, Yandle led the Coyotes in points and averaged around 25 minutes of ice time per game. Every successful franchise needs a veteran defenseman who can lead both on and off the ice, and Yandle can be that guy for Arizona.
At only 22 years old, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is slowly becoming a household name around the NHL, but the biggest reason to build around him in Arizona is that he is signed through the next five seasons. Ekman-Larsson set career highs in both goals and assists last season, and he is only going to get better as he matures in the NHL.
Having two stellar blueliners is important when building a successful franchise, and the Coyotes have that in Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. But Mikkel Boedker is the young, offensive talent who will need to produce at a high level if the Coytoes want to be successful. Boedker is in a contract year in Arizona, which means that his game will only improve as he tries to earn himself a lucrative new deal come next season.
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