33-Year-Old Defenseman – Arizona Coyotes
Zbynek Michalek Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $6.4 million contract with the Coyotes in July 2015.
Michalek (upper body) will play Wednesday against the Canucks.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Michalek remains one of the Coyotes' top defenders, but is not very relevant for fantasy players because he brings almost no offense to the ice. He remains an excellent shot blocker -- he stopped 165 shots in just 59 games -- so if you can use that he is worthy of consideration. He suffered a number of injuries in 2013-14, which have become a problem as he reaches his 30s, but he will have a spot on the team to start the year.
Michalek is better on the ice than in the fantasy arena unless you need a shot blocker. He has never been known to light the lamp or even really set up others to do the same. But you can pretty much count on a blocked shot a game. Unfortunately, that means he only provides value in those leagues that use more complicated scoring systems.
Acquired by the Coyotes during the 2012 draft, Michalek will return to the desert where he was a longtime fan favorite. Michalek's presence will boost an already-stacked blue line and affords the Coyotes the chance to entertain offers for Keith Yandle. Michalek's not known for his scoring, but he did chip in 19 points during his last stint in the desert and will get the Desert Dogs a needed stay-at-home blueliner, especially with the departure of Michal Rozsival.
Michalek led Pittsburgh in blocked shots with 149 (in 73 games) and that's where most of his fantasy value lies. After missing the first month or so with a shoulder injury, the former Coyotes defenseman made the transition to Pens' coach Dan Bylsma's system and improved as the season progressed. Pittsburgh was so desperate at the point late in the season that Michalek got his chance. He's scored between 17 and 28 points in each of his six NHL campaigns, and figures to fall within that range once again in 2011-12.
Michalek finished 15th in the NHL with 156 blocked shots in 72 games. At 27 and in his fourth season, Michalek could improve upon his career high of 27 points. The Penguins didnít give him $20 million for his offense, however, and it would be unwise to project him at anything more than 30-35 points. The team will look toward Michalek to help stabilize a defense that failed to hold all too many leads in 2009-10. Heíll likely put up a decent plus-minus rating, but his other numbers suggest that fantasy teams might not want to reach for him just because heís wearing a Penguins sweater.
Michalek was arguably Phoenix's best defender last season. He played in every game for the Coyotes, and considering Phoenix's woeful defensive numbers as a team, Michalek's minus-13 is not that bad, relatively speaking. At 26, and surrounded by aging blue-liners like Ed Jovanovski and Adrian Aucoin, 26-year old Michalek could make a big step up this season.
In 2007-2008, Michalek was one of the most consistent defensemen on the blue line. He went a plus-9 and led his team in that statistic. As a defensive option, Michalek could be a solid choice deep in the lineup. However, he will need to develop chemistry with another defensive partner as Keith Ballard was traded from Phoenix to Florida.
In 2006-2007, Zbynek Michalek was one of two Phoenix Coyotes players to play in all 82 games. He led the Coyotes in assists with 24, shots on goal with 144, and time on ice with 23:39. His plus/minus rating is not spectacular with a minus 20 where the season before he was a plus four. In 2007-2008, Michalek will improve defensively and if he does, he will show that he can be a solid offensive minded defensemen in the NHL.
A defense first defenseman, Michalek also manages to get enough points to be a fantasy candidate in deeper leagues. If your league awards points for blocked shots, this is your man.