The Arizona Coyotes are a member of the Pacific Division within the Western Conference. Once the newly founded Seattle Kraken join the NHL in 2021, the Coyotes will be moving to the Central Division to help offset and balance the league. They were founded in 1972, joining the World Hockey Association as the Winnipeg Jets.
They have had a past that has involved many owners, even at one point, the NHL took command of the franchise, but they have a new owner as of 2019 in Alex Meruelo who looks to bring stability to the team. The general manager is Bill Armstrong, and they are led by head coach Rick Tocchet. They were previously known as the Phoenix Coyotes but chose to re-establish themselves as the Arizona Coyotes in 2014.
The Coyotes do not have a long history of winning; they have no Stanley Cups or Conference Championships and have 1 Divisional Championship from the 2011-12 season. Former NHL legend Wayne Gretzky debuted as a head coach for the Coyotes; from 2005-2009, but they never qualified for the postseason.
Shane Doan is the franchise’s best player of all-time, holding several off their records still to this day. The right-wing played in the NHL for 21 seasons, all for the Winnipeg Jets and Coyotes once they relocated. Doan holds the franchise records in; games played at 1540, points at 972, goals at 402, and assists at 570. He won the CHL’s Stafford Smythe Memorial Most Valuable Player Trophy in 1995 and made the NHL All-Star Game in 2004 and once again in 2009. In 2010, Doan won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to a player who demonstrates excellence in their community and on the ice.
The current Coyotes:
Things are looking up for the franchise; they finished 5th in their division last year and qualified for the playoffs. They hadn’t made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season before last year; this was a big step for them and their young core.
Last season, the Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators in the qualifying round before being eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche in the opening round. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, they could not capitalize on any top-round talent in the NHL Draft this offseason due to a league violation they committed. The Coyotes top pick, a 2nd rounder because they had traded their 1st rounder already, was forfeited because they worked out draft prospects before the NHL scouting combine had begun.
With their 1st pick in the 2020 draft, they drafted a defenseman named Mitchell Miller at pick 111 in the 4th round. In his 44 game USHL career, Miller recorded 33 points, 8 of them being goals, and 25 of them being assists.
Their young centers Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller paved the way for them offensively. 23-year old Schmaltz led the Coyotes in scoring with 45 points, 11 being goals, and 34 being assists. 21-year old Clayton Keller was right behind him, finishing with 44 points, 17 of them being goals, and 27 of them being assists.
Out of the 70 games the Coyotes played, 2 goalies shared most of their starts, Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta. Kuemper had 838 saves in 29 games played, and Raanta had 934 in 33 games played. They finished top 3 in the NHL for save percentage, at 92.35%, while the league average was 90.96%. Their goals-against average was also in the top-tier of the league, finishing 4th at 2.46 while the NHL average was 2.81.
Do you think the Coyotes will make an appearance within the playoffs again next season?
Here are the Arizona Coyote’s odds, according to DraftKings, for the upcoming 2020-2021 season:
NHL Championship: +6000
Conference Winner: +3500