Last year’s record: 35-39-8 78 points 4th in the Pacific Division
Didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
Key losses: None
Key additions: Alex Goligoski, Luke Schenn, Radim Vrbata, Anthony Deangelo, Lawson Crouse
Outlook: John Chayka had a busy first summer at the helm of the Arizona Coyotes. Since being named GM earlier this summer Chayka has wasted no time leaving his mark by making five trades in the short span of about four months. The Coyotes also had a great draft nabbing both skilled forward Clayton Keller and former top defensive prospect Jakob Chychrun in the first round. Chayka also added former first round pick Anthony Deangelo in a trade with Tampa Bay. Deangelo, a talented offensive defenseman, had six goals and thirty-seven assists in his first pro season with Syracuse of the AHL. Chayka also added Alex Goligoski in the days leading up to the draft and most recently Lawson Crouse. Crouse came as an incentive from Florida for taking on Dave Bolland’s albatross of a contract. Crouse was the eleventh overall pick in the 2015 draft.
The Coyotes will look to take another step in the right direction this season after a positive season last year. With young guns like Max Domi(18g 34a), Anthony Duclair(20g 24a), and Tobias Reider(14g 23a), Arizona has the talent up front to contest for a playoff spot. Reider, who is without a contract will reportedly not attend training camp after he returns from the World Cup of Hockey. This situtation should be monitored closely, a trade could be in Reider’s future, or Chayka will have to pony up and pay the man. With multiple additions to the blue line this season(Goligoski, Schenn) the Yotes defense should be even better than last year. Connor Murphy’s game took major strides last season and they do have one of the best D-men in the league in Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Mike Smith needs to have a bounce back season and show that he’s capable of leading this team in net. He’s being paid like a number one goalie, now he needs to prove it. If he can stay healthy the Coyotes could surprise and contend for a playoff spot.
I know I said the Coyotes could challenge for a playoff spot, but in a loaded Western Conference a spot doesn’t look likely this season. Keep an eye on them in the years to come because they could be a legitimate threat to west in the near future.