With all the legality and controversy that has surrounded Glendale and the Arizona Coyotes, there really has not been much to talk about the state of the actual team. It is hard to even think about where or how the Coyotes will fare when the puck drops October 9 against Los Angeles. They return somewhere in Arizona October 10 hosting Pittsburgh, but as he business side has tried to fix itself out, the rest of the front office still had a job to do over the last few weeks.
So, let’s talk about hockey.
Arizona knows that its future is bright, so being active in the free agent market was important to help flex their money. They were able to help themselves and the Philadelphia Flyers by trading Sam Gagner for Niklas Grossman and Chris Pronger. Picking up these two contracts would allow the Coyotes to use their money and become more active by riding of Gagner’s $4.8 million cap hit. Both Grossman and Pronger are to be paid less than $600,000 each, but the whole idea was thinking that Gagner is not worth developing with the amount that the Coyotes were to pay him.
Since changing their logo in 2003, The Coyotes have also gone with the same home and away jerseys. They added a little style by enhancing their current color and throwing in new sleeves to both. The alternate third jersey will stay the same, but the Coyotes are trying to bury the past as much as possible and create a new look.
Finally, with the Draft on Friday, Arizona took center Dylan Strome, an Ontario native who seems to be NHL-ready. The Coyotes were able to add a little more depth with an all-around athlete, but the major concern is, just like with Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, being very patient as to when to bring him to the highest level is what the Coyotes are trying to do.
The Coyotes have rarely been competitors, and even with the kind of battle they have been facing with a city that doesn’t seem to the want them, it has been rather difficult to mention hockey. Oliver Ekman-Larsson a few weeks ago expressed his frustration with how the team has been the talks of everything but the ice in recent years:
“Not again. We’ve been through so much the past couple of years, and now this happens. It’s disappointing and extremely frustrating that we have to go through something like this again.”
And on the business side, a team with no arena simply means trying to attract players will be tough to do:
“Definitely. Especially if someone wants to sign a long-term deal, then the instability might play a factor in if they would want to join us.”
With still an extremely tough Pacific Division, the Coyotes will most likely not compete for a division title. All they want is to build a team that can make the postseason that can have a taste of the second season. If you make the playoffs, well, anything can happen. Just look at what happened in 2012.