NHL Fantasty Draft: Arizona Coyotes Edition

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Defensemen

Mar 11, 2014; Sunrise, FL, USA; Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle (3) celebrates with defenseman Michael Stone (26) after a goal against Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo (not pictured) in the first period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

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First grabs: Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Avoid: Zbynek Michalek

Sleeper Pick: Michael Stone/Connor Murphy

If you can nab both Yandle and OEL, all the power to you. With three journalists who all cover the Arizona Coyotes in the same league, there’s no chance in hell this will happen to me- but if you can do it, go for it. The two are ranked 6th and 8th on ESPN’s Fantasy Rankings out of the league’s defensemen, respectively- and according to NHL.com’s Fantasy Experts, the two rank 70th and 72nd overall. Do I think you should pick them in the first three rounds? No. Do I think that one of them could significantly help you? With both coming off of 40-plus seasons (Yandle coming off a team-high 53 point season, personally), yes. They’re both offensive-minded blue liners who know how to score as well as they know how to assist. If Yandle can figure out how to play his own position this year, too, you’ll really be in business.

If you find yourself in a later round with no real interest in anyone left, grabbing either Michael Stone or Connor Murphy can’t hurt. I don’t necessarily see either having breakout, 40-point seasons, but they’re also good, solid players who can- at the very least- keep you from giving in to the urge to pick up someone like Gagner. They can’t hurt your roster much, but with a good season, they can definitely help it.

Personally, I would stay away from Michalek. He’s getting older, and while he’s the second half of a relatively terrifying top-two pairing, I can’t see him mustering up more than 15 points for the whole season. He’s a great player, but I think that he and Doan have passed the point where you should comfortably add them to a fantasy roster.