ALL-TIME ROSTER: PHOENIX COYOTES / WINNIPEG JETS

Phoenix Coyotes

Next up in the All-Time Roster series is the Phoenix Coyotes.  As I will with all teams in this series, I will include their time spent in the NHL as the Winnipeg Jets from 1979 to 1996 – this is as much a part of their history as their time spent in the desert, perhaps even more so.  The Coyotes/Jets have had some wonderful players in their time in the league, but unfortunately they’ve never really had enough of them together at the same time and as such have never had much success as a franchise, although things are starting to look up for the team, as they reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time this past year.  Thanks to the Legends of Hockey website and Wikipedia for providing some of the information used, as well as NHL.com for the statistics provided.

FORWARD LINES

Dale Hawerchuk Winnipeg

Dale Hawerchuk

1ST LINE:

KEITH TKACHUK—-DALE HAWERCHUK—-TEEMU SELANNE

  • Stats in a Jets/Coyotes Uniform:
    -Tkachuk: 640 Games, 323 G – 300 A – 623 P 
    -Hawerchuk: 713 Games, 379 G – 550 A – 929 P
    -Selanne: 231 Games, 147 G – 159 A – 306 P
  • One of the top American-born forwards of all-time, Tkachuk was brilliant from the time he joined the team as a Jet, to the time he left as a Coyote.  He would finish his career as one of only four American NHLers to ever score 500 goals, and the sixth to reach 1000 points, but he did his best work in Winnipeg and Phoenix.  He was huge at 6’2″ and 240lbs, and used his strength to become a great player at the net, becoming known as an extremely tough forward to play against.  Drafted in the 1st Round of the NHL Draft (19th Overall) in 1990, he made his debut towards the end of the ’92 season, and in 1992/93 had a very good rookie season with 28 goals and 51 points.  He was named team captain the next year, at the tender age of 21, and became a superstar in the league.  He was one of the Jets’ most dominant forwards for the next few seasons, and despite a contract dispute that led to his being stripped of the captaincy in 1995/96, he was re-instated the following year – the year that the Jets became the Coyotes.  He didn’t slow down despite the warmer climate, and continued to be a powerhouse until the Coyotes traded him to St Louis in 2001 after a couple of injury plagued seasons.
  • Tkachuk’s achievements as a Jet/Coyote are:
    -at the time of leaving, was the franchise’s all-time leader in Penalty Minutes with 1508, and 2nd all-time in goals with 323;
    -twice named to the NHL 2nd All-Star Team;
    -played in 3 NHL All-Star Games;
    -named NHL Player of the Week three times;
    -led the entire NHL in goals with 52 in 1996/97, becoming the first American player to do so.  He was also the fourth player in NHL history to record 50 goals and 200 penalty minutes in a single season (hat-tip to Wikipedia for that info!);
    -holds the Coyotes’ record for career game-winning goals with 40;
    -had two 51 point seasons (one of those in 48 games in the shortened 94/95 season), two 60+ point seasons (both in injury-shortened seasons), two 80+ point seasons, and one 98 point season (’95/’96);
    -had four 20+ goal seasons, one 30+ goal season, two 40+ goal seasons, and two 50+ goal seasons;
    -was also a member of the US team that won Gold at the World Cup of Hockey in 1996.
  • Drafted 1st Overall in the 1981 Draft by Winnipeg, Hawerchuk would instantly become one of the league’s most prolific scorers.  He would spend 9 seasons with the team, eventually being traded in 1990 for Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and Buffalo’s 1st Round Draft Choice – which Winnipeg used to select Keith Tkachuk.  Apparently in the mid-1980s, NHL general managers were polled on the player they would use to start a franchise with; Hawerchuk was voted 3rd behind only Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey, which tells you just how highly he was thought of.  He was often compared to Gretzky, being supremely skilled and a brilliant passer – he was never once below the point per game rate in his entire time as a Jet, his lowest mark being 81 points in 79 games in 1989/90, and even posted an incredible five straight 100+ point seasons. Whilst he was prolific for most of the rest of his career, it was in Winnipeg where he was at his best, and where he remains beloved.
  • Hawerchuk’s achievements in Winnipeg include:
    -one 20+ goal season, one 30+ goal season, six 40+ goal seasons, and one 50+ goal season;
    -one 80+ point season, two 90+ point seasons, and six 100+ point seasons;
    -leading scorer in Jets/Coyotes history;
    -49 points in 38 playoff games;
    -Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year (1982) – at that point the youngest ever winner;
    -at the time the youngest player to reach 100 points in a season, and the second best total by a rookie;
    -four All-Star Game appearances;
    -named to NHL 2nd All-Star Team in 1985;
    -inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Phoenix Coyotes’ “Ring of Honour”, and had his No.10 jersey retired by the Coyotes.
    -further to his achievements as a Jet, Hawerchuk retired with 518 goals,  and 1409 points (in just 1188 games) – good for 17th all-time in NHL history.  He is also the only NHL player to reach 1000 career NHL games before the age of 31.
  • How could it not be Selanne in this spot?!  The Finnish Flash was incredible in his first season with the Jets, posting an NHL rookie record of 76 goals and 132 points, shattering Mike Bossy’s record of 53, and making him only the second European player to lead the NHL in goal-scoring, after Jari Kurri of Edmonton.  He tied with Alex Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres for the league lead in goals that year, and those two remain the last played to have scored 70+ goals in a season.  He struggled with injury the next season, and the 1994/95 season was shortened due to the lockout, but he continued to post point-per-game numbers.
  • He was traded mid-way through the 1995/96 season to Anaheim, which remains the team he is primarily associated with as it was there that he started to put up numbers close to those he put up in his unbelievable rookie year in Winnipeg.  After a couple of stints in San Jose and Colorado from 2001, Selanne returned to Anaheim once more in 2005, and finally won the Stanley Cup with them in 2007 (I dare anyone to watch his reaction after the Ducks win and not well-up!), and despite repeatedly being unable to decide whether to retire or not, he is still going strong at the age of 42 – and still one of the most dangerous scorers in the league.  He made an emotional return to Winnipeg this past year, as the Ducks played the new Winnipeg Jets, and despite his short time spent as a Jet, is still much adored there.  Indeed, he is adored around the league as one of the classiest, and most talented, players ever to skate in the NHL.  He overtook Jari Kurri as the all-time leading Finnish NHL goal scorer in 2009, and is second in career NHL points for a European player behind Jaromir Jagr.
  • As a Jet, Selanne recorded the following achievements:
    -Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1993, posting record numbers for a rookie that are unlikely to be broken any time soon;
    -had three more seasons at over a point-per-game pace;
    -NHL record for most goals in one calendar month (20 in March 1993);
    -played in three NHL All-Star Games;
    -named to the NHL All-Rookie Team;
    -named to the NHL 1st All-Star Team in 1993

2ND LINE:

RAY WHITNEY—-THOMAS STEEN—-PAUL MACLEAN

  • Stats in a Jets/Coyotes Uniform:
    -Whitney: 157 Games, 41 G – 93 A – 134 P 
    -Steen: 950 Games, 264 G – 553 A – 817 P
    -MacLean: 527 Games, 248 G – 270 A – 518 P
  • Whitney might not be the most obvious choice here, given his short stint in the desert from 2010 to 2012, but he was simply fantastic over that period.  He provided quality offence on a team that has struggled to score in what seems like forever, and even at the age of 40 he has shown no real signs of slowing down.  In his first season with the ‘Yotes, he put up 17 goals and 57 points, and turned it up a notch this past season with 24 goals and 77 points.  Whitney is something of a unique player in the NHL, given that he was a 1st Round Draft choice for San Jose way back in 1991, but didn’t really make much of a dent in the NHL until 1997 with Florida.  Since then, he gave quality seasons for Columbus, Detroit, Carolina (where he won the Cup), Phoenix, and now he has moved on to Dallas.  He made the NHL 2nd All-Star Team in his second season in Phoenix, the first time he was named to an All-Star Team.
  • Thomas Steen was a fantastic player for a long time with the Jets organisation, from 1981 to 1995 – his entire NHL career was spent in Winnipeg.  The Swede had four 20+ goal seasons and one 30 goal season, but was more of a playmaker, putting up one 40+ point season, four 50+ point seasons, four 60+ point seasons, one 70+ point season, and two 80+ point seasons.  He hit a high of 88 points in 1988/89.  He also had 44 points in 56 playoff games, and served as Co-Captain of the Jets from 1989 to 1991 (along with Hawerchuk and Randy Carlyle).  He was even named the NHL’s most underrated player in 1990 in a poll of other players.  He played in one NHL All-Star Game (1990) and had his No.25 jersey retired by the Jets.  His son Alex Steen currently plays in the NHL for the St Louis Blues.
  • MacLean was a prolific player for the Jets from 1981 to 1988, posting one 20+ goal season, three 30+ goal seasons, and three 40+ goal seasons, as well as one 50+ point season, one 60+ point season, four 70+ point season, and a career high of 101 points in 1984/85, primarily playing on a line with Dale Hawerchuk.  He played in the 1985 NHL All-Star Game, but despite his high-scoring ways was never named to an NHL All-Star Team.  He is now the Head Coach of the Ottawa Senators, and was nominated for the Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year in 2012.

3RD LINE:

Shane Doan 2012

Shane Doan, 2012 Playoffs

LADISLAV NAGY—-JEREMY ROENICK—-SHANE DOAN

  • Stats in a Jets/Coyotes Uniform:
    -Nagy: 321 Games, 92 G – 157 A – 249 P 
    -Roenick: 454 Games, 152 G – 227 A – 379 P
    -Doan: 1198 Games, 318 G – 470 A – 788 P
  • Obtained by Phoenix in the trade for Tkachuk in 2001, he played for the team until being shipped to Dallas in 2007.  He had several strong seasons as a Coyote, putting up two 40+ point seasons, and three 50+ point seasons – including 56 points in only 51 games in 2005/06 and 52 points in 55 games in 03/04.  He wasn’t a superstar player, and missed a fair bit of time due to injury, but he was a pretty strong offensive option for the Coyotes for a number of years.
  • One of the more outspoken players in the NHL over the years, Roenick was traded to Phoenix in their first year in the desert (1996) for star player Alexei Zhamnov.  He was a physical, scoring star for the team up until he left for Philadelphia as a free agent in 2001, after amassing several strong scoring seasons as a Coyote.  He put up three seasons of 20+ goals, and two 30+ goal seasons, as well as one 50+ point season, one 60+ point season, and three 70+ point seasons, not to mention 18 points in 18 playoff games.  He later returned to Phoenix in 2006/07, where he put up 28 points in 70 games, although he was 36 by this time and not nearly the player he once was.  He also amassed a whopping 596 penalty minutes in his time in Phoenix, the only time he put up less than 100 penalty minutes in a season as a Coyote being in 06/07.  As a Coyote, he played in 2 NHL All-Star Games, and is an inductee of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, being regarded as one of the greatest ever US-born players.
  • Shane Doan has been the face of the Phoenix Coyotes organisation for what seems like forever.  He, along with Nikolai Khabibulin – currently of the Oilers – and Teemu Selanne – of Anaheim – are the three sole remaining members of the original Winnipeg Jets team still playing in the NHL, but none are more associated with this franchise than Doan, as he has remained with the team through their traumatic move to the desert, their numerous difficult seasons with little success, and the lofty team achievements of the last couple of seasons.  Some may argue he deserves to be higher up this list, and I would fully understand – many of these players are interchangeable.  Drafted back in 1995 by the Jets, the big, physical, skilful winger immediately made the NHL, although he wouldn’t truly be an impact player until 1999 when he broke out with 26 goals and 51 points.
  • That year he began a 9-season streak of never scoring less than 20 goals in a year.  He has posted five 50+ point seasons, four 60+ point seasons, and two 70+ point seasons, as well as  nine 20+ goal seasons and two 30+ goal seasons, and has notched up 1071 penalty minutes since entering the NHL.  He has played in two NHL All-Star Games (2004 and ’09), won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (for the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who makes significant humanitarian contributions to the community) in 2010, and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2012.  He has served as captain of the Coyotes since 2003, and has also been a highly notable member of Team Canada in various international competitions, winning two Gold Medals and three Silver Medals at the World Championships, serving as Captain on numerous occasions.  This past year he led the Coyotes to their most successful playoff run ever, when they reached the Conference Finals but lost in 5 games to the eventual Stanley Cup winners the LA Kings.  Despite having tested the free agency waters this past summer, he eventually decided to remain with Phoenix after signing a 4-year deal to stay with the team.  A remarkably tough and talented player, Doan has never been elite, but he has been a consistently high-quality star for a Phoenix team that hasn’t seen many of those pass through it’s doors.

4TH LINE:

MORRIS LUKOWICH—-ALEXEI ZHAMNOV—-EDDIE OLCZYK

  • Stats in a Jets/Coyotes Uniform:
    -Lukowich: 431 Games, 168 G – 177 A – 345 P 
    -Zhamnov: 235 Games, 103 G – 164 A – 267 P
    -Olczyk: 214 Games, 95 G – 106 A – 201 P
  • Morris Lukowich was a member of the Winnipeg Jets from 1978 to 1984, the first year of which was when the Jets played in the WHA, plus another stint in 1984/85.  That first year with the Jets in the WHA, Lukowich scored 99 points and established himself as a scoring star.  When the Jets were absorbed into the NHL the following year, Lukowich continued his scoring ways, putting up one 20+ goal season, three 30+ goal seasons, and a 43 goal season, as well as an NHL career high of 92 points in 1981/82.  He was small, but explosively fast and skilled, and served as the team captain in 1980/81, as well as playing in two NHL All-Star Games.
  • A star Russian player for the Jets from 1992 to 1996, Zhamnov never once dropped below the point-per-game rate as a Jet.  Centering a line with Keith Tkachuk, they were a lethal combination, with Zhamnov acting as a Tkachuk’s set-up man.  In the lock-out shortened 1994/95 season, he put up an astonishing 65 points in just 48 games and was named to the 2nd All-Star Team.  He was later traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Jeremy Roenick, and whilst he remained a good player for a few more years, he didn’t approach the elite status he enjoyed in Winnipeg again.
  • Perhaps most famous now for his impassioned speech to Jets fans in 1996 when declaring that although the team was moving to Phoenix, the team would bring the Stanley Cup back to Winnipeg, Eddie Olczyk was a quality player over parts of 5 seasons – in two separate stints – for the Jets.  He consistently approached the point per game mark, and enjoyed both a 26 goal and a 32 goal campaign in Winnipeg.  His time as a Jet was all too brief, but he will certainly always have a place in Jets fans’ hearts.

13TH FORWARD:

PAT ELYNUIK

  • Pat Elynuik played for Winnipeg from 1987 to 1992, putting up three 20+ goal seasons and two 30+ goal seasons, proving to be a quality NHL sniper in his time there.

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

1ST PAIRING:

phil housley winnipeg

Phil Housley

PHIL HOUSLEY—-TEPPO NUMMINEN

  • Stats in a Coyote’s Uniform:
    -Housley: 232 Games, 64 G – 195 A – 259 P 
    -Numminen: 1098 Games, 108 G – 426 A – 534 P
  • Though he only played three seasons in Winnipeg, Phil Housley certainly made his mark on the Jets organisation.  A generational talent who probably isn’t as well-remembered as he should be, and who astonishingly didn’t win much in the way of silverware, he put up some truly remarkable offensive numbers for a defenceman on his way to becoming one of the top American-born players ever to play in the NHL.  Acquired by the Jets from Buffalo as part of the return for superstar forward Hawerchuk, Housley definitely lived up to his reputation, tallying seasons of 76 points, 86 points and 97 points from 1990 to 1993, the latter two seasons  being his best two seasons in the league by a fair margin.  As a Jet, Housley played in three All-Star Games, was named to the 2nd NHL All-Star Team in 1992, and was the second runner-up to the Norris Trophy for the league’s best d-man in 1992.  He would continue his career in many other NHL cities, en route to becoming the NHL’s all-time leading scorer amongst American-born players with 1232 points (since broken by Mike Modano).  He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.
  • The player with the second-most appearances in a Jets/Coyotes uniform in history – behind only Doan – Numminen played 15 fantastic seasons for the franchise.  A consistent two-way force on the blueline, he also holds the franchise for scoring by a defenceman.  The Finn was traded to Dallas in 2003 for Mike Sillinger, but not before having served as the Coyotes’ captain for 2 seasons and having played in three NHL All-Star Games (1999-2001).

2ND PAIRING:

FREDRIK OLAUSSON—-ED JOVANOVSKI

  • Stats in an Canadien’s Uniform:
    -Olausson: 496 Games, 86 G – 249 A – 335 P
    -Jovanovski: 332 Games, 47 G – 117 A – 164 P
  • Drafted in 1985 by the Jets, Olausson was a steady and calm defender who played 7 and a bit seasons in Winnipeg before being moved to Edmonton in 1993.  A great two-way d-man, he twice hit 62 points in a season as a Jet, and reached the 20 goal mark in 1991/92, terrific totals for a blue-liner.  He would play for several other teams in his career, and won the Stanley Cup in 2002 with Detroit, but it is as a Jet that he made his name in the NHL.
  • Perhaps not the most obvious choice for this spot, I went with Jovanovski because of his strong two-way presence and leadership in the franchises’ most troubled years from 2006 to 2011.  Signed as a free agent after several successful seasons in Vancouver, “Jovo-Cop” would be a tough, skilled presence on the Coyotes’ blue-line.  As he had in Vancouver, he consistently led the Phoenix defence corps in scoring, including a career high 51 points in 2007/08.  He appeared in two NHL All-Star Games as a Coyote.

3RD PAIRING:

RANDY CARLYLE—-DAVE BABYCH

  • Stats in an Coyote’s Uniform:
    -Carlyle: 564 Games, 80 G – 226 A – 306 P
    -Babych: 390 Games, 73 G – 248 A – 321 P
  • An extremely tough defender, Randy Carlyle was a star in the early 1980s, a two-way force that had won the Norris Trophy as Best Defenceman with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1981.  By the time he got to Winnipeg in 1983, he had played 8 NHL seasons, and was a seasoned veteran.  This was the role he took on in Winnipeg, putting up points (he had numerous 40+ point seasons as a Jet), playing tough, and shutting down the opposition.  He stayed in Winnipeg for the remainder of his career, and after retirement in 1992/93, became an Assistant Coach for the team.  He is now the Head Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, after having won the Stanley Cup in 2007 as Head Coach of the Anaheim Ducks.
  • Highly rated going into the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, Babych was selected 2nd Overall by the Jets and stepped into the NHL immediately, leading the teams’ blueline in scoring with 44 points, becoming an instant star.  He set franchise records with 19 goals and 68 points in 1981/82 (since broken), and was an NHL star for each of his six seasons with the team, forming a good partnership with Carlyle.  He hit a career high of 74 points in 1982/83, and had 16 points in just 19 games in 1985/86 before being traded to the Hartford Whalers – a trade that turned out to be awful for the Jets.  He is notable for being the first ever NHL player to wear the number 44, a number that has become synonymous with defencemen ever since.  He played two NHL All-Star Games as a Jet.

7TH D-MAN:

KEITH YANDLE

  • Keith Yandle came to the NHL surprisingly quickly, having been a fourth-round long shot draftee in 2005 and playing his first 7 NHL games in 2006/07.  He had shown in junior and in the AHL that he was a skilled, puck-moving d-man, and after a 12-point (in 43 games) rookie season in 07/08, he posted 30 points the following season.  Since then he has posted seasons of 41 points, 59 points, and 43 points, remarkably and consistently high scoring for a defender in this day and age.  He is average defensively, and received some amount of criticism in the 2012 playoffs for struggling, but he is a very good NHL player, has played in two NHL All-Star Games, and was under serious consideration for the Norris Trophy in 2010/11.

GOALIES

STARTER:

Ilya Bryzgalov

Ilya Bryzgalov

ILYA BRYZGALOV

  • Stats in a Coyote’s Uniform:
    -Bryzgalov: 257 GP, 130 Wins, 93 Losses, 27 Overtime Losses
  • Whilst it’s arguable that he was a product of coach Dave Tippett’s strict defensive systems that has led the Coyotes to much recent success, especially after he completely bombed in his first year in Philadelphia and Mike Smith blossomed as his replacement, you can’t argue with the fact that Bryzgalov put up some mighty impressive numbers in his time with Phoenix, the first team that gave him the chance to be an NHL starter after spending years as a backup in Anaheim.  Winning a fantastic 42 games in his third season with the team, Bryzgalov would be a top-5 finalist for the Hart Trophy as League MVP and the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie in 2009/10 as the Coyotes’ made their first playoff appearance since 2002.  He recorded outstanding stats that season with a 2.29 GAA and a .920 SV%, and would record similar stats in 2010/11, his final season with the team.  Every year he was a Coyote, he never recorded less than 26 wins, nor did he finish with a goals against average of above 2.98 or a save percentage below .906.  He was somewhat less spectacular in the playoffs, but was perhaps the most efficient goalie during the regular season that the Coyotes/Jets have had.  He was named to the NHL 2nd All-Star Team in 09/10.

BACK-UP:

NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN

  • Stats in a Coyote’s Uniform:
    -Khabibulin: 284 GP, 126 Wins, 113 Losses, 30 Ties, 7 Overtime Losses
  • The legendary “Bulin Wall” was a Jet/Coyote from 1994 to 1999, spending most of that time as the team’s starting goalie.  Posting a 26-win season followed by three 30-or-more-win seasons, he was pretty much an NHL star, including winning a career-high 32 games in 1998/99.  He would play in two All-Star Games as a Coyote, but after a contract dispute was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he would reach the height of his fame as he led them to a Stanley Cup Championship.  He is currently nearing the end of his career, playing with the Edmonton Oilers.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

  •  Bobby Hull – I couldn’t include the legendary winger on the main part of this list due to the fact he only played 18 NHL games with the Jets, in 1979.  But he did play 411 games for the team in “the rebel league”, the WHA, and I just had to mention him here.  He was a major reason the WHA got off the ground, and was one of the first NHL players to jump ship to the new league in 1972.  As perhaps the NHL’s biggest star at the time, playing for Chicago, it was a huge loss for them, and embarrassing because of Hull’s primary reason for leaving – the WHA offered him $1m, an outlandish sum at the time.  Hull would record 303 goals and 638 points for the WHA Jets, including one 40+ goal season, three 50+ goal seasons, and a 77 goal season in 1974/75 which was at the time a record for pro hockey.  He also recorded 142 points that year.  He also recorded 80 points in 60 games.  With his speed and incredible shot, not to mention his flowing blonde hair, “the Golden Jet” formed a formidable line with Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg, leading the team to three AVCO Cup titles.  He was named three times to the WHA 1st All-Star Team and twice to the 2nd All-Star Team, won the WHA MVP Award twice, finished 2nd all time in WHA goals scored, and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.  His No.9 is retired by the Jets.
  • Ulf Nilsson – Ulf Nilsson was a major star for the Jets in the WHA, putting up seasons of 120 points, 114 points, 124 points and 126 points in his four seasons with the team – incredible production in any league.  He was twice named to the WHA 1st All-Star Team, once to the 2nd All-Star Team, was the WHA Playoff MVP in 1976, and won two AVCO Cups with the team.  He went on to play for three seasons with the NY Rangers in the NHL, but is primarily remembered for being one hell of a Jet.
  • Anders Hedberg – The third member of that amazing WHA Jets line was Anders Hedberg, who never registered less than 100 points in a season for the team, including a career high of 131 points in 1976/77.  He was named to the WHA 1st All-Star Team and 2nd All-Star Team twice each, won two AVCO Cups, was the WHA Rookie of the Year in 1974/75, and is a member of the IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame.  He, like Nilsson, went on to star for the NHL’s New York Rangers.
  • Willy Lindstrom – Yet another WHA Jet was Willy Lindstrom, a good goal scorer in his time there, and winning two AVCO Cups in the process.  He put up 123 goals and 261 points in 316 games for the team, and later went on to play in a depth role for two Stanley Cup winning Edmonton Oiler teams.
  • Serge Savard – the former star Montreal Canadien was an important part of the early years of the Jets in the NHL, mentoring their young defencemen like Dave Babych.  He only played parts of two seasons for the team, but was still an important member and went on to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.
  • Doug Smail – the left winger played 11 seasons in Winnipeg in the 80s and 90s, putting up three 20+ goal seasons and a 30+ goal season and playing in the NHL All-Star Game in 1990.
  • Lauri Boschman – played just over 7 seasons for the Jets in the 1980s as a center, putting up three 20+ goal seasons and one 30+ goal season.  He was a tough, capable player who is among the franchise scoring leaders.
  • Brian Mullen – spending five seasons with the Jets from 1982-87, the right winger never scored less than 19 goals in a season for the team and put up highs of 32 goals and 71 points in 84/85.
  • Scott Arniel – played with the Jets from 1981 to 1986 and had two 20+ goal seasons, two 40+ point seasons and one 50+ point season – a good secondary scoring winger.
  • Paul Mara – played for the Coyotes for 4 and a bit seasons from 2002 to 2006, and had two 40+ point seasons and two 20+ point seasons as a strong two-way defender.
  • Martin Hanzal – current Phoenix center, the huge Hanzal has been in Phoenix since 2007 and has been a consistent 30+ point producer, his lowest output being 26 points in 2010/11.  He probably hasn’t reached his offensive potential yet, and he is brilliant at outshooting the tough opposition; a very valuable player going forward for the team.  Was strong in the 2012 playoffs with 6 points in 12 games.
  • Zbynek Michalek – the big, solid defender has spent the bulk of his 8 year NHL career in Phoenix, and has just returned to the team after two years spent in Pittsburgh.  More of a defensive player than an offensive one, but is not bad in that area either, he is an asset to any team’s D-corps.
  • Derek Morris – another long-time Phoenix defender, Morris played for the team from 2004 to 2009 and again from 2009 to the present.  A consistent two-way presence, he has played over 1000 NHL games and will be primarily remembered for his time in the desert.
  • Dave Ellett –  a quality puck moving d-man for the Jets from 1984 to 1990, he never scored less than 38 points in a season as a Jet and put up a high of 58 points in 1987/88.
  • Radim Vrbata – undeniably talented, but has had trouble with consistency throughout his career.  Has played for many teams in his 10 year career but has always played best in his two stints as a Coyote, never scoring less than 19 goals and 43 points for the team, and had a 35 goal, 62 point season this past year – a career high.
  • Daymond Langkow – now in his second stint as a Coyote, the veteran center had three 20+ goal seasons in his first stint from 2001 to 2004, and had 11 goals in his return stint this past year.
  • Oleg Tverdovsky – played for the Jets/Coyotes from 1996 to 1999, and had a career high 55 points in 1996/97 as a defenceman to lead the team in scoring from the blueline.
  • Dave Christian – quality playmaking winger for the Jets in the early 1980s, had two 20+ goal seasons and two 70+ point seasons for the team.
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson – he’s only 21, but man oh man is this kid good.  2011/12 was only his 2nd NHL season, but he put up 32 points and is looking already like a future NHL superstar, taking on the tough competition and winning the day.  Seemingly took over from Keith Yandle in the playoffs as the team’s number 1 defenceman, something very, very few defenders that age can do.  Look out, Coyotes fans, this guy will most likely be climbing on to the main part of this list within a few short years.
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