by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/09 at 12:30 PM ET
When we look at the top 20 offensive zone starters, we see that Ed Jovanovski leads the league. He has a significant lead on anyone else in the league. Jovanovski has 168 more offensive zone starts than defensive zone starts. Patrick Kane of Chicago is in second place well back at 139. This is an amazing total given that Phoenix had the worst team Corsi Number in the league last season and had many more defensive faceoffs than offensive faceoffs to take last year.
Given that Jovanovski is the highest paid player on the Coyotes with a $6.5 million salary cap, this isn’t good enough. He should be the player who leads the team and does the hard work to make the team win. In Phoenix, it is Zbynek Michalek and Kurt Sauer who play the tough roles. They are on for the most defensive zone starts in Phoenix.
If Ed Jovanovski is preferentially used in offensive situations, that could be a good thing for the Coyotes if he was one of the top offensive defencemen in the game. He isn’t. His 36 points tied him for 36th in the league among defencemen in scoring. Given all the offensive chances Jovanovski had, that isn’t particularly impressive.
There are many things that are wrong with the Phoenix Coyotes. Most of them have to do with their financial situation, but things are not good on the ice either. When your highest paid player has to be protected from playing in tough situations on the level that Ed Jovanovski is you have a messed up salary structure and depth profile.
Despite playing on a bad team that plays in the defensive zone more often that the offensive zone, Ed Jovanovski has been protected from those defensive situations and used more strongly in offensive situations than anyone else in the NHL and he isn’t a top offensive defenceman anymore despite being given that chance. This is a hockey issue that the Phoenix Coyotes will have to fix to achieve any success. Right now, hockey issues have been forgotten in Phoenix due to deep financial problems, however deep hockey problems also existed last season and Ed Jovanovski and his usage and lack of productivity is one of them.
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