30-Year-Old Center – Arizona Coyotes
Joe Vitale Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $3.35 million contract with the Coyotes in July of 2014.
Vitale will be sidelined for the next 4-to-6 weeks with a fractured orbital bone, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
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Joe Vitale: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Vitale signed a three-year contract with Arizona to provide some depth and defensive skill up front. He managed just 14 points in 53 games last year and his offensive production is not likely to increase with the move to the desert. He should have a regular shift on a checking line, but he won't be a significant contributor in most leagues.
With two goals and five points in 33 games, Vitale offered little fantasy value for poolies in 2012-13. That scenario probably won't change much in the coming season. The fourth-line center oftentimes serves as a healthy scratch and isnít assured of ice time. Vitale does possess one skill that the Penguins don't seem to take advantage of enough -- he won 61.1 percent of his draws, going 157-100. He'll fight to make the team once again in 2013-14.
Vitale overcame the odds to earn a spot on the Opening Night roster with Pittsburgh last year. He battled Richard Park for a fourth-line role and both players ended up making the team. Vitale only produced 14 points (4G, 10A) in 68 games, however, and offers little offensive potential. Vitale is a grinder who finished with 106 hits in limited ice time and will look to improve upon his rookie showing in 2012-13.
Vitale proved to be a gritty center who is willing to work the corners during his nine-game NHL stay with Pittsburgh in 2010-11. He's a hard worker, but his offensive potential doesn't appear to be anything special. Vitale had two points with the Pens and 30 (9 G, 21 G) in 60 AHL contests. He's a good bet to see time with the Penguins in 2011-12, but it remains to be seen whether his offensive production merits a spot on fantasy teams.
Vitale was picked by the Penguins in the seventh round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, and last season he had his first real chance at the professional level. While playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2009-10, he proved that he could dish the puck (26 assists) and be aggressive in the pros. Vitale will get more experience with the Baby Pens this season.
Vitale made it past the first cuts of training camp, but at 24 he's not a young prospect. Vitale averaged nearly a point per game in his last season at Northeastern with 35 points in 27 games. He then picked up four points in five regular games with the Baby Pens before being shut out in 12 playoff contests. It's hard to see Vitale cracking Pittsburgh's lineup as anything more than a one or two game injury replacement.