The Coyotes will play in Dallas on Thursday night and then end the pre season in Colorado on Saturday and they have a few young guys you may want to keep your eye on as the roster continues to get down to regulation.
Both Peter Mueller and Martin Hanzel continue to look good and more and more comfortable with each time on the ice. Although Mueller and Hanzel both missed on their shoot out attempts vs the Oilers Mathieu Garon on Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale AZ, both made several great plays in regulation. Mueller would have had a few assists if he had some finishers as he has the patience and vision to make plays in traffic that his teammates are still getting used to. He is very crafty with the puck. Hanzel has shown good puck protection and although he isn't overly physical for his size, uses his body to buy time and space. He likes to set up on the left half boards on the PP and isnt afraid to drive to the net.
The best of the younger players has been one time Pittsburgh prospect, Daniel Carcillo. in fact, in the recent edition of the Hockey News prospects, they still had him listed as a Penguin top prospect. He was part of the George Laraque deal last Feb. He has a great deal of energy and spunk in his game, not to mention the fact he can make a play at this level. in 5 games he has 3-2-5, the same totals as Hanzel has in 6 games now. He can clearly get in the kitchen of the opposition. Following the loss to the Oilers, Gretzky said to me that the team missed Carcillo's energy on the bench when the game lost a little flow. He has played on the LW in most of the games with Shane Doan on the right side. The centers have been in and out, from Mike Zigomanis to Niko Kapanen to Steven Reinprecht.
There are 2 enormous surprises making a bid for the opening night roster and they are Craig Weller, who comes from the Rangers organization. He recently fought respected tough guy Todd Fedoruk in a game against Dallas and Daniel Winnik who is a Toronto native that played College hockey and was drafted by the Coyotes and while he spent his 1st pro season in both the AHL and the ECHL, he came to camp in great shape and has been so much quicker getting to the puck and finishing his checks. He has clearly opened the eyes of everyone in the organization and putting plenty of pressure on players like Bill Thomas and Enver Lisin, the speedy Russian that has told more than a few people that if he got sent down this year, that he would report to the AHL, unlike last year when he went back to Russia.
With 7 defenseman still in camp, there is a heck of a battle going on between Matt Jones and Brendan Bell to go along with Travis Roche, who was already assigned to San Antonio a few days ago, but i am sure will attract interest from other NHL clubs when the official rosters are put in place.