At the NHL level, injuries are no longer an excuse for struggling.
The Coyotes have battled their share of injuries this season. Due to great defence depth and a good team system, they have battled their way to a respectable record.
Not a great record, but not terrible either.
Rostislav Klesla has played just two games this season. He is a vital shut-down defenceman for the Coyotes and losing him could have been disastrous for the Coyotes. Lucky for them, David Schlemko was able to fill the void just fine. Although, maybe it wasn’t luck. Maybe Don Maloney has done a great job of assembling a deep defence core with numerous players capable of stepping up in case of injury.
As fate would have it, Schlemko got hurt in a game against the Minnesota Wild this week. Sure enough, the Coyotes call up Chris Summers, who has shown he can hold his own at this level. With Michael Stone and David Rundblad already playing a few games for Phoenix this year, Maloney has assembled a team that has nine defenceman capable of playing at the NHL level.
I had been preaching all through the off-season that the Coyotes have the best defence core in the league. I meant more than just top end skill-wise. The depth on this blueline is incredible. It doesn’t matter who gets hurt or who struggles and needs to sit a few games, the Coyotes have players that can step in and fill that spot effectively.
Rumour has it that Klesla might be ready to go tomorrow. All of the sudden Maloney has a great problem to have. Too many NHL ready defenceman.
Up front is a different story, but that’s a discussion for another day.