NHL All-time teams: Phoenix Coyotes
A look back at some of the best of the Phoenix Coyotes and original Winnipeg Jets.
Ah, hockey in the summer, where things come to a grinding halt for about two months in between one long season and another. To fill the void we at Eye on Hockey thought it would be fun to make an all-time team for each of the 30 organizations in the NHL today.
The ground rules: The teams will consist of a center, two wings (regardless of which side), two defensemen and a goaltender. A player must have spent at least 200 games with a franchise to be considered. So Bobby Orr won't be on the Blackhawks' roster or Wayne Gretzky for St. Louis.
It has been a tumultuous ride for the Coyotes since they arrived in Arizona in 1996, with owner after owner and the continual threat of relocation looming over the club. With ownership settled for now, Coyotes fans don't have to worry so much about the future. I don't have to worry about the future either, since this series is about the past.
The Coyotes' past includes the Winnipeg Jets, the original Winnipeg Jets. The eventual Coyotes were in Winnipeg for 17 seasons starting in 1979-80. Over the two teams, the franchise has had some outstanding talent roll through.
The franchise is still seeking its first Stanley Cup, coming closest in 2011- 12, when the Coyotes lost to the LA Kings in the Western Conference Final. Perhaps the soon-to-be-renamed Arizona Coyotes will have a chance at a Cup chase under new ownership, but for now, let's look back at the Coyotes/Real Jets.
It broke my heart to leave Teemu Selanne off the all-time team, but to console myself and all of you, here's his famous goal celebration after breaking the NHL's rookie scoring record in 1992-93. The Finnish Flash scored 76 goals and put up 132 points, which still stands as his best NHL season. Teemu Forever.
Dale Hawerchuk: So how good was Hawerchuk? How does "incredible" sound? In nine seasons with the Jets, Hawerchuk topped 100 points six times and never finished with fewer than 81. His 929 points from 1981-82 to 1989-90 with the Jets is the most in franchise history and puts Hawerchuk in elite company. The only players to put up more points than Hawerchuk over that span are Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Peter Stastny and Denis Savard.
Hawerchuk, who was the first overall selection in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft by Winnipeg, took the league by storm immediately. As an 18-year-old rookie, he scored 45 goals and put up 103 points en route to winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie. His best season in Winnipeg came in 1984-85 when he topped 50 goals for the first and only time of his career with 53 and registered 130 total points. He was the first Jet ever to collect 50 goals in a season.
Over his career, Hawerchuk averaged 1.30 points per game, making him one of the most prolific producers of his era. His 379 goals remain a franchise record. He served as the team's captain for six seasons and his No. 10 was retired by the franchise. Hawerchuk was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
Shane Doan: There have been many great wings over the course of the history of this franchise, but Doan has become the face of the Coyotes. A constant through a sea of uncertainty, Doan has been with the club since the very beginning, even spending his rookie season as part of the Jets before the move south. No player has played in as many games for the franchise as Doan, who has appeared in 1,246 contests over his career.
Doan isn't exactly an exceptional forward by any stretch, but has been very good for the Coyotes for the last 16 years in Arizona. He's topped 20 goals 11 times, which includes reaching the 30-plus plateau twice. Oddly enough, Doan didn't score his first career hat trick until 2012, and it came in rather ridiculous fashion: scoring with one tenth of a second left on the clock in a game the Coyotes won 5-1. Still fun.
Doan is about to enter his 10th season as the team's captain. His 331 goals are second in franchise history, while his 815 points rank third, just two points away from No. 2 Thomas Steen. Undoubtedly, his No. 19 will hang from the rafters soon after he hangs the skates up.
Keith Tkachuk: A guy who could score with pest-like qualities and an eagerness for a good scrap, Tkachuk was a fan favorite in both Winnipeg and Phoenix. He was a Jet for five seasons before leading the team into its desert transition in rousing fashion.
The 19th overall selection by the jets in the 1990 draft, Tkachuk joined the team in 1991, but didn't earn full-time duty until 1992-93. By his second full season in the league, Tkachuk scored 41 goals and posted 81 points for Winnipeg. In the last season in Canada, Tkachuk collected his first 50-goal season and put up 98 points.
When the club moved, it had an instant star in Tkachuk. He led the league in goal scoring with 52 in the inaugural season of the Coytoes and posted 40 the next year including this beauty against the Sharks.
He was the team's captain or co-captain for seven seasons including the first five in Phoenix. His 323 goals are third all time, while his 623 points rank fourth in club history. His No. 7 is retired by the team and Tkachuk is a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as one of the greatest American-born goal scorers of all time.
Teppo Numinen: A franchise staple, Teppo Numminen played in more games than any other defenseman and ranks second overall in franchise history with 1,098 contests in a Phoenix and Winnipeg jersey. In a lot of ways, Numminen is the perfect player for this list. Over 15 seasons with the franchise, the Finnish Dman spent eight years with the Jets and another seven with the Coyotes.
A terrific two-way defenseman, Numminen is tops among blueliners and fifth overall in franchise history with 534 points. He was a second-round pick by the Jets in 1986 and it took him three years to make it to the NHL, but Numminen made an impact pretty much every season thereafter.
His No. 27 is retired by the club.
Phil Housley: This last spot was really hard to pick. With only 25 defensemen in franchise history meeting the games-played criterion to make this list, there's not a wide range of guys to go off of. That said, it came down to former players like Fredrik Olausson, Dave Babych, Randy Carlyle, Keith Carney and in the end, the choice: Phil Housley.
Housley only spent three seasons with the Jets, but were they ever eventful. In his first two years with the club, the offensive defenseman potted 46 goals, notching 23 each season. In his third and final year, Housley posted a career-best 97 points.
He finished his Winnipeg tenure with 259 points, averaging 1.12 per game. In that three-year span, no defenseman in the NHL had more points than Housley. Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey were next closest if that helps paint the picture of how productive Housley was.
The U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer was a second-team NHL all-star while with Winnipeg in 1992. Plus, you know you were doing OK if Upper Deck decided to give you "The Collector's Choice" treatment on one of its trading cards. Saintly image via tradingcarddb.com.
Sean Burke: I spent a lot of time debating among Sean Burke, Bob Essensa, Nikolai Khabibulin and, yes, even Ilya Bryzgalov. There's a decent argument for each one of them. Current goalie Mike Smith owns the best career save percentage and goals-against average in club history, but he doesn't meet the criteria yet.
Burke's numbers from five seasons with the club, all while in Phoenix, are quite good. He's second in club history with a .919 save percentage and 2.39 goals-against average. His 15 shutouts rank third. He made the all-star game twice while with the Coyotes.
Burke is still closely connected to the Coyotes as the organization's goalie coach. He has been credited with helping right the careers of Bryzgalov and Smith among others in his time with the club. This summer, his son Brendan, also a goalie, was drafted by Phoenix in the sixth round of the NHL Entry Draft.
In the latter stages of his career, Burke was known for displaying his love of music on his goalie mask. Here's one from his Coyotes days, with Eric Clapton on the left side of the mask and Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant on the right. Photo via faniq.com.
Thomas Steen, Teemu Selanne, Nikolai Khabibulin, Bob Essensa, Paul MacLean, Randy Carlyle, Keith Carney, Fredrik Olausson, Jeremy Roenick, Alex Zhamnov, Dave Christian, Ilya Bryzgalov, Ron Wilson.
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