As a general rule of thumb, 5 games is a decent period to analyze how well a team is doing, and the coyotes have just finished their fifth game of the new year. In these first Five starts the coyote’s have not looked pretty, in fact at times it has been truly painful to watch. There has been very little to be proud of at either end of the ice, and not many of the young players have made a huge impact yet. There have been three major issues to the coyotes game this season, and two positive sights on the ice. let’s look into the main issues so far, and discuss what can change for the better.
Lack Of Offense
When watching a coyotes game, it is not uncommon for the game to start off feeling as if it will be a close defensive game by the end of the first period. The Coyotes often get their few goals early in the games, before falling apart defensively and having no comeback. After five games the Arizona Coyotes have been outscored 25 to 8, yeah you read that right. The Coyotes are last in the league in both points per game, and points against per game, making them without a doubt the worst team in the league. This roster feels as though good goal scorers few and far between, and goals are coming from whoever happens to be in the perfect situation to make it happen. The only player I can truly say looks capable of scoring good goals this year is Clayton Keller, as he leads the team in goals, and both of his were skill plays instead of stick battles near the net. A lot of the Coyotes goals this season feel like lucky opportunities, and not planned plays. Not only is the team ranked 29th in shots, but also has the 28th ranked power play. The team feels as if there is little to no offensive play on the ice, and something needs to change soon if the Coyotes want to not only win a game but build up the trade value of players like Phil Kessel.
The Coyotes offense might not be playing well, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the defense is letting an average of 4.80 goals against per game. Not only is the Coyotes five-on-five play atrocious, but they are the last ranked penalty kill in the league, with a measly 36.4 percent. There are a few guys out there who I feel like have shown some true potential and could grow into solid starting defensemen, however, guys like Jakob Chychrun have been a real letdown through the first five starts. Not only has Chychrun not scored a single point on 18 shots, but is also tied with teammate Nick Schmaltz for worst plus-minus in the league at minus 9. Overall the Coyotes Defense has felt like a wall of feathers, providing little to no help for our two new goaltenders.
Carter Hutton Is Not Good
I don’t feel like saying Carter Hutton is terrible, is outrageous to say, and the play he has put in has been outright embarrassing to watch as a fan. Carter Hutton has the worst save percentage in the league, as he currently sits at .702, as well as being ranked last in goals against per game with 8.75. Stats like this would regularly have a goalie sent down to the minors in a hurry, and on any other team in this league, Carter Hutton would not make an NHL roster. Backup Karel Vejmelka on the other hand has looked impressive through his first couple starts. In his first NHL game he allowed just one goal, had a save percentage of .960, and looked like potentially the future goalie of the Coyotes. Vejmelka took over for Hutton after 6 goals were put into the back of the net by the St. Louis Blues and Hutton has not started in a game since. Vejmelka looks to be the starter moving forward, and I could not be happier. Going into this year it was obvious that Arizona’s Goalie play wasn’t going to be great, but the stats Carter Hutton has Put up thus far have been embarrassing.
Through these first five games, there have been two players that have stood out to me and I feel deserve to be talked about for their own reasons. Number one is Forward Lawson Crouse, as he probably does not have the offensive numbers he might like to ( 1 goal and 1 assist) but has been the most Physical player on the team, and Arizona’s Bully in a sense. Crouse has been in multiple fights, has made up most of the Coyotes hits highlight reels, and has tried everything to get into the opposition’s head. Crouse has drawn plenty of penalties, including getting Buchnevich suspended for two games when he made him mad enough to head butt Crouse. I feel Crouse has been a much-needed positive sight this year and has made the games feel more evenly matched than they actually were. Next, I want to discuss coyotes rookie Dysin Mayo. Even though he has only played in one game so far this year, Dysin felt as though he was truly excited to play for the Coyotes, and left everything he had on the ice. Not only did he look like he gave his all but he was also the only player to score a goal in his debut game against the Edmonton Oilers. Dysin has been in Arizona’s system for a long time and it was good to see him get his chance and make the most of it. I look forward to seeing what both Mayo and Crouse will be able to do this year, and the impact they will make.
What To Expect Going Forward
The Arizona Coyotes are going to have a bad year, and if you thought anything different these first five games must have come as a real awakening. The Coyotes roster is not built to win games, in fact, to this point, we have seen that it is not even designed to keep games close. The Coyotes are going to lose a lot of games this year, and that’s ok because this is the start of a rebuild that looks to have a bright future. Articles will keep coming in about trade rumors, and as fans, all we can hope for is that Bill Armstrong (Coyote’s General manager) knows what he is doing and that there is a pot of gold at the end of this dark gloomy rainbow. So now as fans lets look forward to the potential first overall pick, and the 100 other draft picks we have in the next couple years.