Off the Ice: Taking a look back at the 2013-14 Phoenix Coyotes

Apr 16, 2014, 8:37 PM | Updated: 8:38 pm

Follow @carternacke...

I hate writing this piece.

Not only because this means the Phoenix Coyotes’ season is done for the year, but writing it for the second time in a row in mid-April makes it all the more painful.

Also, this is your chance to laugh at how wrong I was.

After such a promising start, the Coyotes crashed out of the playoffs in the final month of the season. Once a contender for the highest point total in the NHL, the team will now take in the playoffs from their respective couches and golf courses.

So what went wrong? The question is, what didn’t?

Between injuries, poor play and a lack of consistency, the Coyotes aren’t the same team they were two seasons ago. I’ve already made my arguments for change. Here’s hoping it happens.

But let’s move to a more fun topic — my preseason predictions. Some of them were right, others, well, don’t be too harsh in the comments.

Player to watch: Mike Ribeiro

To be fair, he was the player to watch…get lambasted on Twitter for the entire season. After a hot start that made it seem as if he was going to live up to his big free agency deal, Ribeiro was in and out of the scoring column for the remainder of the season. The fans, and head coach Dave Tippett, noticed. He was benched for a few games and was still struggling at the end of the season. Ribeiro’s even called it “one of the worst” seasons in his career. I think next year will be better for him.

Top trade bait: Young defensemen

I was sort of right, so there’s that. The Coyotes moved two young defensemen, David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois, to Chicago in exchange for a second-round pick. Most hoped that would turn into a talented winger coming in, but that didn’t happen. Instead, a trade was made to get injured D-man Rostislav Klesla off the payroll and bring in Martin Erat, who continued a poor run of play after his time in Washington.

Scoring leader: Mike Ribeiro

Through the first part of the season, I looked like a genius with this pick. Most mocked my decision, saying Ribz would need time to adjust. At the end of the season, I was wrong. Defenseman Keith Yandle took the title with 53 points, though Ribeiro finished a few spots below him at 47. Again, watch this guy next year.

Storyline to follow: The battle at left wing

Guess what? This is still going on and has been since Ray Whitney left! I’m over writing about this. Here’s hoping the team pursues a few talented wingers in the summer and stops the continuing rotation next to Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal. It was quite the talking point this year though!

Best nickname: Sniper

No one called him this, but I’m bestowing the title on goalie Mike Smith. After all, only 11 goaltenders have scored in an NHL game. Smitty became one of them after sneaking one in during the closing seconds of a game against the hated Red Wings. At least it made up for the dreaded “Buttgoal.”

Bold prediction: OEL involved in Norris talk

I was wrong on this one, though I feel that Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still one of the most overlooked players in the league. He led the Coyotes in ice time and somehow keeps becoming a better and better defenseman, but people are still too busy obsessing over Yandle to pay him any attention. A few more years, kids, and you’ll see.

Season outcome: Playoffs

Damn you, April. If the season would have ended in March, the Coyotes would be enjoying the postseason on the ice instead of the greens. On March 29, Phoenix was poised to overtake Minnesota for the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, April did happen, the Coyotes lost seven of their last eight and were sent home after missing out by just two points. So close, yet so far.

I’m off to enjoy my summer. I hope you guys do the same.

Arizona Coyotes

NHL Global Series - Arizona Coyotes v Los Angeles Kings...

Arizona Sports

Coyotes conclude Australia series with Kings, Josh Doan scores hat trick in split-squad action

Josh Doan -- son of Shane Doan -- scored a hat trick for the Coyotes against the St. Louis Blues in preseason action.

7 days ago

Logan Cooley, #3 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...

Arizona Sports

Cooley scores spin-o-rama goal as Coyotes beat Kings in first NHL preseason game in Australia

Coyotes rookie Logan Cooley scored a nifty, highlight-reel goal and Arizona beat the Los Angeles Kings, 5-3, in the NHL's first preseason game played in the Southern Hemisphere.

8 days ago

The Arizona Coyotes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., on Dec. 29, ...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes extend partnership with Arizona Sports

The Arizona Coyotes have announced a one-year partnership extension with Bonneville Phoenix to continue broadcasting the team's games.

10 days ago

Jan Jenik...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes sign forward Jan Jenik to 2-way contract

The Arizona Coyotes announced Wednesday that they signed forward Jan Jenik to a one-year, two-way contract.

11 days ago

Logan Cooley walks toward the stage after being selected third overall by the Arizona Coyotes durin...

Aaron Schmidt

Logan Cooley wants to ‘thrive in NHL,’ make impact with Coyotes

Rookie sensation Logan Cooley is excited to not only make an impact with the Arizona Coyotes, but the NHL too.

12 days ago

General manager Bill Armstrong of the Arizona Coyotes during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...

Aaron Schmidt

New Coyotes signings ready to make impact

Under GM Bill Armstrong, the Arizona Coyotes have been in a slow rebuild. However, this offseason's signings could make a noticeable impact.

15 days ago

Off the Ice: Taking a look back at the 2013-14 Phoenix Coyotes