Cat’s Question of the Week: Is the Team Season Opener-Ready?

3 of 5

Holding it down: Is the Blue Line impenetrable yet?

Apr 4, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner (89) celebrates with left wing Taylor Hall (4) after scoring a goal as Phoenix Coyotes left wing Lauri Korpikoski (28), defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) and goalie Thomas Greiss (1) react during the third period at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The blue line is currently the hottest topic for the Coyotes. It seems that the entire defensive roster is made up of players that just beg to be talked about. Is Ekman-Larsson on fire, or will he burn out early? Has Zbynek Michalek outlived his usefulness between his first tenure with the team and his second?

Don’t even get us started on Keith Yandle. It seems that the entirety of the team’s fan base either wants him to stay on the team forever and ever and always, or wants him gone- like, yesterday. The offensive-minded defender has his flaws, but also knows how to score. He also brings the team a sense of leadership and high morale, which has an arguable level of usefulness. Intangibles are hard to compare to poor Corsi or Fenwick numbers, but for a team that’s been battling to remain in the league, this might be exactly what they need.

What do I think should happen? The team doesn’t have a particularly mind-blowing pool of defensive prospects, and it’s well known throughout the league that this position takes longer to develop. The likelihood of fans seeing prospects such as Andrew Campbell or Dylan Reese moving up permanently is pretty low; if anything, the team will need to add to the blue line by trading with a team desperate to unload players.

Chicago is looking at a pretty ugly lack of cap space for the upcoming season, but it’s unlikely that the conference rival will be as willing to make a friendly trade as one of the financially struggling teams in the East. Boston, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia are all over the cap, as well- and both Boston and Philadelphia might be willing to make a blue-line trade for another couple prospects to beef up their farm systems.