The Arizona Coyotes are a team in flux. As of
April 27th, 2016, the team has still not confirmed where they will
play their home games, who their General Manager will be and the majority of
last season’s players are free agents. Even though they improved over their
pitiful 2014-2015 season, the Coyotes missed the playoffs for the fourth
straight year. The next GM, rumored to be 26 year old analytics guru John
Chayka, will have the flexibility to move the team in a new direction this
of the main priorities for the new decision maker will be to upgrade a defense
and goaltending group that allowed the third most goals of any team in the
league. Additionally, they finished third to last in penalty killing. The
offense could also use some additional scoring punch as the top scorer on team
was defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson with 55 points.
Free Agents: The list of free agents this summer is incredibly long. The most
notable player on the market is Captain Shane Doan. Nearing age 40, the
league’s longest tenured captain turned back the clock and led the team with 28
goals. It remains to be seen whether he will want to continue playing, and if
the team will want him back.
of Ekman Larsson, the only other defenseman not up for free agency is Zbynek
Michalek. Also, the team has only one goalie under contract, starter Mike
Smith. The team will have to re-sign some of their own free agents, but there
could be a potential “house cleaning” as well.
Picks: Since Arizona has two young forwards that will likely make the jump to
the pros next season in Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak, there is a good
chance the team will select one of the team defenseman with their first pick.
Depending on the teams picking in front of them, the Coyotes will likely miss
out on top prospect Jacob Chychrun but could still choose from Jake Bean, Mikhail
Sergachev or Olli Juolevi.
Agent Additions: If Chayka is selected as the new GM, it will be interesting to
see if he will bring a “Moneyball” style approach to free agency. While the
team should have cap room to land a big free agent or two, he may search for
undervalued players to build a more well-rounded squad. There are not a lot of
big name defenseman to go after, but Kyle Quincey (Detroit),
Luke Schenn (Los Angeles) and Jason Demers (Dallas) may be options. In goal, 24
year old Louis Domingue played relatively well when called on this season and
should be re-signed to backup Mike Smith.
Labels: Eric Bokobza