Summer Skate: Phoenix Coyotes

Mike Smith may not be as dominant as he was in 2011-12, but he should be better than 2013. Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the Phoenix Coyotes. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.

Note: Because of the lockout, GVT scores for the 2013 season are prorated from 48 to 82 games.

Summer Skate: Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes are a team that some people expect to regress every season, but they always seem to find ways to win. That wasn't the case last season, when they failed to make the playoffs for the first time in three campaigns.

Losing Ray Whitney stung, and Mike Smith wasn't able to carry the team the way he did in 2011-12, so the final result wasn't exactly a shock. That said, Phoenix finished only four points out of a playoff spot in 2013 and made some deft moves this offseason to improve its offense. Not only that, but the uncertainty regarding their ownership was finally resolved, with a new group confident that it can make hockey profitable in the desert. But are the additions -- and the stability on the business side -- enough for them to get back to the postseason?

Trending up: G Mike Smith
Last season: 3.1 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 19.3