ARIZONA COYOTES

Three current Coyotes on ESPN’s top 100 NHL players of decade list

Dec 19, 2019, 2:28 PM | Updated: 2:31 pm
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)...
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes got atop the Pacific Division. And then they traded for 2017-18 Hart winner Taylor Hall.

With the move, the Coyotes are true contenders in the league. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence it’s happening this season, when the team has added experienced players who have dominated the decade.

ESPN ranked its top 100 NHL players of the decade. Three current members of the Coyotes made the list: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall. Former Coyote Keith Yandle is also among the athletes.

Because Kessel and Hall spent most of the decade on different teams, Ekman-Larsson is the only player who represents Arizona on the list. The team captain has been on the Coyotes all decade and was not only one of the top defensemen in the league, but one of the better scoring defensemen, too.

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski wrote he’d likely have more notoriety if it weren’t for the “blind spot” many have for the Arizona hockey team.

With 345 points in 691 games, Ekman-Larsson was a top-20 offensive player among defensemen … Probably would have been a Norris finalist without that Arizona blind spot by the voters.

Ekman-Larsson is ranked No. 84 on the list.

Kessel joined the Coyotes just this offseason, so he is listed as a Pittsburgh Penguins representative, where he won two Stanley Cups. Over the decade, Kessel was seventh in goals with 298 and ninth in points with 716, according to Wyshynski.

He was ranked No. 38.

Finally, the most recent Coyotes addition, Hall, is on the list at No. 32 as a New Jersey Devils representative. He won the Hart award there and scored 208 points in his first 211 games.

Now, the three are together on the Coyotes as Arizona tries to prove it’s a legitimate team to be reckoned with.

Yandle, a longtime Coyote, was also on the list. He was given the Florida Panthers designation, though, likely in large part due to his 62-point year last season. He was on the Coyotes from 2006 to the middle of the 2014-15 season.

Funny enough, he played the most games in the decade:

“Not only did he not miss a single game, he played 84 of them in 2014-15 thanks to a midseason trade from the Coyotes to the Rangers.”

One notable omission: Shane Doan was not listed as a top 100 player of the decade.

While he likely would have been on the all-2000s list, Doan was past his prime for the bulk of this decade and the final time he reached the 50-point mark was the 2011-12 season.

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