Three Things About The Opposition
This season we figured we’d reach out to our friends in the Pacific Division and ask them to tell you and us three things about their team for the upcoming season. It could be any three things, but we wanted them to inform you about the Flames biggest rivals in the NHL.
Our offense should be better.
Arizona finished last season tied for 28th in goals scored and the power play was ranked 26th. Part of that can be blamed on injuries, players the team counts on for a balanced offense like Michael Grabner, Jakob Chychrun, Christian Dvorak, and Nick Schmaltz all missed significant time. To complement a now healthy team the Coyotes also went big and acquired Phil Kessel from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk and P. O. Joseph and brought in Phil Housley to run the defense, which will hopefully allow Arizona’s defense to contribute to the offense. Are these moves going to turn the Coyotes into the Tampa Bay Lightning? Definitely not. But if the Coyotes can stick to the stingy defense which saw them finish sixth in goals against, they just need a modest increase in offense.
Our young players have something to prove.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Coyotes and General Manager John Chayka you may be unaware of the contracts that have been given to our young core. Christian Dvorak is starting the first year of a six-year, $27.8 million deal, Nick Schmaltz signed for seven-years, $40.95 million, and Jakob Chychrun is signed to a six-year, $27.6 million deal. Clayton Keller has one more year on his entry-level deal, and after he will be making $57.2 million over the next eight years. These deals will define GM Chayka’s tenure in the desert and have earned him some criticism for betting on unproven players. But the team believes that these players are going to continue to improve and get better, and the players know that they are going to need to have a big season to prove the critics wrong.
Fans are confident, but a slow start will change that quick.
The past two seasons the Coyotes have started extremely slow. Last season we were shut out three times in our first four games, and the prior season we had a historically bad start. If the team starts slow again this season then fans are going to freak out and wonder if the team didn’t do enough to address the bad offense or if we have bet on the wrong players.