Los Angeles Kings v Phoenix Coyotes

Schedule could cause Coyotes to be streaky next season

With the 2011-12 season rapidly approaching, the gang at PHT decided to take a look at all 30 NHL teams’ schedules. Each team’s highs and lows will be studied in detail to give you an idea of what the future might hold for each squad.

Note: Mileage figures via On the Forecheck’s “Super Schedule.”

Phoenix Coyotes schedule analysis

Total mileage: 49,192 (sixth highest total in NHL, but only fourth in the Pacific Division)

Back-to-back games: 13

Toughest stretches

You know it’s going to be a rough season when the season opening three game road trip barely registers a blimp on the schedule analysis. There are two stretches of games that Coyotes fans should circle on their calendars as potential pitfalls. The first comes in the middle of November when Phoenix embarks on a five game road trip against four very difficult teams. The face the Sharks on November 12, only to fly across the country to play the Leafs, Flyers, Sabres, and Caps.

The next tough test is an eight game stretch that starts on December 29. The Stars will play eight games in eight different cities over the course of two weeks. The quality of competition may not be the most difficult, but it’s never easy to live out of a suitcase for a prolonged period of time.

Easiest periods

Just like the team has extending periods on the road, the Coyotes also have a couple of extend stretches in Glendale. Early in the season (starting October 15), the Coyotes play 9 out of 11 games at home over the course of the month. They’ll get plenty of rest and will need to take advantage of the home cookin’ as they try to get off to a quick start. Later in the year, the Coyotes play 8 of 9 games at home between January 19 and February 11. Unfortunately, the teams visiting Jobing.com Arena are a little tougher the second time around—but extending homestands are opportunities to collect points.

Overall outlook

All in all, the Coyotes schedule is a complete mess this season. They may have one of the easier schedules (mileage wise) in the Pacific Division, but it’s still one of the most difficult when it comes to the entire league. With extended periods on the road, Phoenix could fall into funks that last for two weeks at a time. On the other hand, extended stretches at the Jobing.com Arena could help the Coyotes string victories together and spread hope around the Valley of the Sun. The trick for Phoenix will be to maximize the homestands and minimize the damage when they’re away from Arizona.

Slepyshev earns final Oilers roster spot; Draisaitl to AHL

Anton Slepyshev, Anton Lander
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The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.

The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.

The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.

But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.

“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”

Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado

Jared McCann, Connor McDavid, Ben Hutton

A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.

The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)

It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.

Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.

Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.