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Jan. 20, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes center Lauri Korpikoski (28) skates the puck into the Columbus Blue Jackets zone during the first period at Jobing.com Arena. The Blackhawks beat the Coyotes 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Getting to Know the Arizona Coyotes: Lauri Korpikoski

The Coyotes have always struggled with finding key offensive weapons to help them score, and this year is clearly no different. However, that’s not always a bad thing- especially when you have loyal members of the organization ready to step up to the plate and produce those numbers.

2014 is looking like another season where the coaches will have to settle with talent they already have and mold those guys into world class players. Dave Tippett is going to be looking within the organization- he’ll be encouraging players to provide more to the team than they did last year.

Lauri Korpikoski is ready for this role.

Lauri is one of those quiet players in the league that everybody seems to forget about. He’s not top tier, but he’s also not terrible by any means; he’s just average. There have been glimpses of superstar quality, but nothing too prevalent yet.

This season, though, it seems almost necessary for to change. This Finnish forward is ready to break out of mediocrity and step up in to a bigger role for the Arizona Coyotes this season- as the team needs it now more than ever.

Korpikoski entered the league as the 19th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft with the New York Rangers. He spent two full seasons with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack, where he totaled 88 points in 157 games. Lauri saw his first action in the NHL during the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals, when the Rangers faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jan 11, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller (1) watches on as forward Saku Koivu (11) and Phoenix Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski (28) battle for the puck in the third period at Jobing.com Arena. The Ducks win 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

He suited up for game 5 of that series, and would go on to score his very first NHL goal. Not many players can say that their first NHL goal came in the playoffs, but Korpikoski can.

That following season, Korpikoski made the final Rangers roster, and became the only rookie on the squad to start the season. During his rookie year, he notched 6 goals and 8 assists through 68 games.

After just a taste of the regular season, Korpikoski was eager to progress with the New York Rangers; however, management had other plans.

In the summer of 2009, Korpikoski was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes. After an unexciting first season, it seemed that a new start with a new team was exactly what Lauri Korpikoski would need in order to branch out and become a name in the NHL. Ever since the trade, Korpi has flirted between the second and third lines to contribute to the scoring core of the team. He has put in 332 games in a ‘Yotes sweater, and he has accumulated 56 goals and 68 assists.

Jan 20, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) makes a save on Phoenix Coyotes left wing Lauri Korpikoski (28) as defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) defends and left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) attacks during the second period at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 20, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) makes a save on Phoenix Coyotes left wing Lauri Korpikoski (28) as defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) defends and left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) attacks during the second period at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014-2015 season is quickly approaching, and its looking like Korpikoski may be a second line forward once again. Lauri is a familiar face with the franchise, and with his work ethic, those point totals will gradually increase with each season that passes. A healthy Lauri Korpikoski can easily put up a forty point season- so fingers crossed.

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