The Arizona Coyotes continue to be in a rebuild that many wonder if they can get out of anytime soon.
The three seasons between 2020 and the start of the 2024 season have been a complete disaster for the Coyotes, with just 77 wins and 116 losses. The Coyotes have finished 5th, 8th and 7th in the Central Division.
The last time they made the playoffs was the 2019-2022 season when they lost in the first round to the Colorado Avalanche. The Coyotes have missed the postseason in 10 of their last 11 NHL seasons.
Not for lack of Trying
The Coyotes made some moves, and many were positive in the off-season. Arizona has strategically bolstered its roster with a blend of seasoned veterans and promising young talents through free agency. The team has successfully integrated a pair of experienced forwards, namely Nick Bjugstad and Jason Zucker, further enhancing the depth and bringing knowledge to complement Arizona’s burgeoning core of youthful players.
- Through a trade with the Kings, the Coyotes have acquired defenseman Sean Durzi.
- The Coyotes have secured the services of defenseman Travis Dermott on a versatile 1-year, 2-way contract.
- Nick Bjugstad and Troy Stecher have been welcomed back to the Coyotes on the initial day of free agency.
The most significant offseason acquisition for the team, defenseman Sean Durzi, stands out. Standing 6 feet tall, Durzi exhibited remarkable performance, contributing nine goals and 29 assists to the Los Angeles Kings during the 2022-23 season.
Over his two-year NHL career, he has demonstrated impressive statistics, amassing 12 goals and 53 assists, all while maintaining his penalty minutes at a modest 105.
He was acquired through a trade, with the team giving up a second-round draft pick in the 2024 draft in exchange for his talents.
Nick Bjugstad, who transitioned to the Coyotes last season from Edmonton, delivered an impressive performance with 17 goals and 12 assists over 78 games, spanning his tenure with both Western Conference teams.
This 30-year-old player joins forces with Nick Schmaltz and the newly procured Alexander Kerfoot, forming a robust center lineup for the team’s revamped forward setup.
At 31 years of age, Jason Zucker, a winger with a notable career, makes his way to the Coyotes after his stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins. His record for the 2022-23 season stands at seven goals and 21 assists.
Hailing from California, Zucker’s experience could position him as a contender for prime playing time, potentially partnering with Evgeni Malkin from his time in Pittsburgh.
Furthermore, Alexander Kerfoot, a player of consequence, registered an impressive performance during the previous season. Tallying ten goals and 22 assists, he exhibited his prowess across all 82 regular season games while representing the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Draft Class of 2023
The Coyotes also got better in the draft. Having secured two selections within the top 12 picks of the draft, the Coyotes strategically opted for a duo of Russian prospects.
At the 6th position, the organization chose Dmitri Simashev, an 18-year-old defenseman known for his impressive physical attributes, standing 6 feet 4 inches. Displaying remarkable speed on the ice, he exhibited a plus-22 rating across 29 games with his Russian team.
Notably, his posture and skating technique have been lauded, characterized by a deep stride and exceptional flexibility in his hips, knees, and ankles. Elite Prospects, in their draft profile, highlighted Simashev’s ability to harness this flexibility for both power and agility, setting him apart from many others.
Subsequently, at the 12th spot, the team secured the talents of Daniil But, an 18-year-old winger standing at an impressive 6 feet 5 inches. But had the opportunity to collaborate with his fellow Coyote prospect, Simashev, over the past three seasons. In the most recent season, he showcased his capabilities by contributing 15 goals and 11 assists in 26 games.
During the early stages of the second round, the Coyotes continued to make impactful selections by adding Michael Hrabal, a towering 6-foot-7 goaltender, to their roster. Notably, Hrabal has committed to playing at UMass, further highlighting his potential and commitment to his hockey career.
Despite all the good news the Coyotes have brought in the off-season, the bad news is – they appear to be a long way away still. The Coyotes are +25000 on the betting odds to win the Stanley Cup. That falls below teams like the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks and tied with teams like the Ducks, Sharks, and Canadiens.
Arizona is +20000 to win the Central Division, with Colorado as the favorite. Oddsmakers have also put Arizona at 73.5 points for the season.
The Coyotes will start their preseason schedule on September 22nd against the Kings. The regular season slate will see an October 13th start in New Jersey. The Coyotes start with three on the East Coast before a trip to St. Louis before coming home to host the Ducks on October 21st.