The Curious Case of the Phoenix Coyotes

Photo Courtesy of AP

The Phoenix Coyotes ownership is in disarray. The management and coaching is a mess. The team has the lowest salary totals in the league. With all that being said, the Coyotes must be one of the worst teams in the league, right? Wrong! Phoenix currently sits at the 4th in the Western Conference, just five points behind the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks.   

So how are they doing so well while spending so little money? Time to go to the numbers.   

The Coyotes have just two players with more than ten goals. No player has 25 or more points. However, what Phoenix lacks in star power, it makes up for in consistency. Twelve players have double-digit points with nine of them having 17 or more points. Fourteen players average more than fifteen minutes on ice per game. Most importantly though is the Coyotes goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov ranks fourth in the NHL in GAA and is tied for third in save percentage. He leads the league in shutouts, is second behind Martin Broedur in wins, and is tied for second in games played. Bryzgalov has carried the Coyotes all year.   

Bryzgalov is making $4.26 million per year. That’s good for 16th in the league among goaltenders. How’s that for a steal.   

Shane Doan’s 24 points are the most on the team and his salary, $4.55 million, leads all forwards. Radim Vrbata has the second highest salary ($3 million) amongst forwards and his third on the team with 22 points. Matthew Lombardi has the third highest salary ($1.817 million) and the second most points (23). Continue reading “The Curious Case of the Phoenix Coyotes”