SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 18: Lee Stempniak #22 of the Phoenix Coyotes waits for a face off during second period action against the Florida Panthers on March 18, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Coyotes defeated the Panthers 4-3 (SO). (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Of all the players who moved teams at or around the trade deadline, the guy having the biggest immediate impact is a player I (and I imagine most others) would never have suspected: Lee Stempniak.  Whatever else Stempniak’s incredible start in Phoenix is, it is probably appropriate that an unheralded and often underrated player emerges as a surprise on a team that was both unheralded and underrated entering the season.

In nine games with the Coyotes, Stempniak has scored nine goals, added two assists, and recorded a plus-8 rating.  The Coyotes won eight of those games, are on a nine-game winning streak, and have taken over the lead in the Pacific Division, and Stempniak’s offence is a big part of the reason why. 

While it’s a definite surprise to see Stempniak doing as well as he is, his offence didn’t exactly come out of nowhere.  Stempniak scored 27 goals and topped 50 points with the Blues in 2006-07, and has had 38 and 44 points in the last two seasons.  He does have offensive ability, although it was shown rarely with the Leafs.

The bad news is that it can’t continue.  Stempniak’s shooting more with less ice-time, but that is not the primary reason for his offence.  He’s carrying a 31.0% shooting percentage so far as a Coyote, just over twice his career best – set in 2006-07 when he scored 27 goals. 

The good news is that the strengths in Stempniak’s game will remain: his intelligence, his willingness to play a two-way game, along with some offensive touch.  But for now, it’s worth enjoying the finest run of his career.

Comments (3)

  1. Stempniak is going to be one of those very good ufa pick ups by some team in the off season. He won’t be asking for to much and can fill in an offensive void on the second line or be used in 3rd line role and kill penalties. While he’s certainly not going to keep up his pace it’s only helping to raise his stock and I’m sure the longer this goes on and the more he helps Phoenix in the post season the more dollar signs his agent will be seeing.

    Another player that was picked up at the deadline that is putting up good numbers is Mueller. He looks like the player he was when he first came into the league and is fitting in nicely with the rest of the young players on the Avs. It’s surprising how no one is talking about him. At this pace he’ll easily surpass his point totals in Phoenix while doing it in probably 1/3 to 1/4 of the games he needed to do it in Phoenix. Weird how simply getting traded can effect certain players so much but it always seems to happen.

  2. I feel that his time with the leafs was spent on the defensive checking/penalty kill lines and not enough on the top lines. He showed some brilliant plays with the leafs, but not the amount he could if he played with scorers and not guys like Wallin

  3. People are bashing the leafs for giving him up but most fans in toronto knew how good he was. The one problem was he never seemed to be able to finish hed miss wide open nets after making brilliant plays and went unoticed by the rest of the league. The trade mirrors bryzgalov in anaheim he was great but giggy was better and burke gave him a chance to flourish elsewhere which is what he did with stempniak and great on lee stempniak for putting it all together and great on phenix for being the only team to recongnize stempniaks talent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *