Coyotes’ Christmas Wishlist

‘Twas Christmas Eve and Arizona have an 11-16-5 record, a 0.422 points percentage that ranked them 27th in the league. Although the team is exceeding most people’s expectations, here is the Coyotes’ wishlist so that Arizona can have a prosperous future on the ice!

A Natural Shooter

Although the Coyotes are currently 29th in the NHL in goals for (86), the offense has not been a major concern for the Coyotes as the team has a lack of offensive prowess and received fair production from their forwards in relation to their ice time and playing situations. However, my one offensive critique is that the Coyotes average the least number of shots on net among all teams in the NHL.  Obviously, teams need shots to score goals and win games so do the math…

A natural shooter and/or goal scorer will be a tremendous asset to the team and improve this problem. Hopefully, Arizona can secure a Connor Bedard or acquire a diamond in the rough, a player who is still developing and has yet to reach their true potential, just like how Buffalo acquired Tage Thompson from St. Louis in a trade a few years ago.

Improved Back-Up Goaltending

Karel Vejmelka has been killing it in net. Connor Ingram has not. Ingram is 1-7-1 with a 0.875 save percentage, 4.51 adjusted goals against average, and -8.7 goals saved above average. I’m not entirely sure why management claimed Ingram off waivers earlier this season but his performance, thus far, has not been helping his case. As a fairly young team that is rebuilding, it’s essential for the team to play meaningful games so that a winning culture can be created, and players understand that losing is not okay. Unfortunately, the team doesn’t seem to play meaningful hockey when Ingram is in net.

Personally, I’d like to see Ivan Prosvetov can translate his AHL success this season to the NHL.  Prosvetov has been playing well with Tuscon this season as he has a 9-5-2 record with a respectable 0.905 save percentage.

Protecting Vejmelka

On a recent episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast, Elliote Friedman expressed curiosity about whether a team would try to trade for Vejmelka. Vejmelka’s strong performance makes him great trade bait especially as his cap hit is only $2.25 million for the next two years. It is in the best for the Coyotes to not trade Vejmelka because he enables the team to play competitive and meaningful hockey. As we’ve seen from the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, and New Jersey Devils, rebuilds can take a while or things may fall into place altogether at once and the team is competing for a playoff spot sooner than expected. Arizona currently has a lot of great, young players and amazing prospects who are developing well. Long story short, the Yotes might be competing for a playoff sooner than expected and it’s important to have sturdy goaltending.

Trade Jakob Chychrun ASAP

It’s difficult for me to write this because Chychrun is a fantastic defenseman who helps the Coyotes win games. However, it is no secret that Chychrun still wants to be traded. It is in the Coyotes’ best interest to trade Chychrun as soon as possible while his stock remains high so the succession plan can be executed. It’s going to take some time for other defensemen to step up and fill Chychrun’s big void, so it is important to give these defensemen as many opportunities as possible so they can develop and be confident with their new roles.

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