Top Five Reasons Every Coyotes Fan Should Be Watching Training Camp

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1. Keep an eye on Sam Gagner.

Apr 4, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; NHL linesman Matt MacPherson prepares to drop the puck for Phoenix Coyotes center Antoine Vermette (50) and Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner (89) during the second period at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Coyotes fans are entering into a new season less confident about shiny new acquisitions than they were last season, thanks to one-year disaster Mike Ribeiro.

Because of this, Sam Gagner has received a less than stellar reception in the desert. Some fans can’t wait to see how he produces, and it’s obvious that the team’s front office has faith in his production levels improving over those he had in Edmonton. Other fans, though, don’t want to feel hopeful for a second year in a row, only to be disappointed.

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  • From what I’ve seen, Gagner is optimistic about his move to Arizona. He was previously with a franchise heavier on talent than team mentality, and it showed. He had spurts of greatness, but didn’t seem to be able to click in a system that, based on their roster, should have finished off the previous season far higher than the bottom of the West.

    Keep an eye on training camp, though- if Gagner is as happy about the change of scenery as he claims he is, it’ll be apparent almost immediately. It’ll also be good to see how well he works in varying scenarios- with certain players, on certain lines, and in certain positions. Gagner is a center who can play in the wings as well, so training camp will be especially important to see where he will play- and who he will play alongside.

    My best guess is that he’ll be on the third line in one of two spots- the center (playing with either Samuelsson or Domi on his left, and Rob Klinkhammer on his right), or the left wing (With Tyler Gaudet or Lucas Lessio setting him up, and… well, still Klinkhammer on the right wing). A lot of this will depend on which of the “Fantastic Five” get moved up to the big team’s roster, though, which leads us to our second big thing to watch for-