Coyote Ugly in Arizona
By Patrick Hoffman
Unfortunately, I am not referring to the movie that came out a long time ago.with the title of this piece.
Rather, I am talking about the Arizona Coyotes. This team and franchise has struggled for the last six seasons or so.
Not only have they not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2011-12 season, but they have usually been one of the league's worst teams each season. Unfortunately, that appears to be the theme for the Coyotes this season as well.
As of this writing (January 30, 2018), the team is last in not only in the Pacific Division, but also in the entire league. Even with a new coach behind the bench in Rick Tocchet and a few new players, not much has changed for this hockey club.
For starters, this team really cannot score goals. The team is currently (January 30, 2018) second to last in the league in goals scored with 117 goals in 50 games.
This puts the club second to last in the league in goals for per game with an average of 2.34 goals a game. This is one of the main reasons why the Coyotes struggle every season.
None of their players are really stepping up when it comes to producing on a consistent basis. Players like Derek Stepan (9 goals and 21 assists for 30 points), Christian Dvorak (7 goals and 17 assists for 24 points), and Max Domi (3 goals and 18 assists for 21 points) are all playing well below expectations this season.
The only player that seems to ignite this team's offense is rookie Clayton Keller who has 36 points on 14 goals and 22 assists. He is one guy on this team that has extremely bright future and hopefully, that will end up meaning something for this franchise.
Speaking of being disappointing, that can be said of perhaps the team's best player in defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. While he is fourth on the team in scoring (8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points) this season, he has been terrible on the other side of the puck.
Going into their team's game against the Dallas Stars on February 1, Ekman-Larsson is a -36. Cearly, his club gets scored on a lot while he is on the ice, which is a big problem when he is your team's best player.
Ekman-Larsson is not the only problem for this team when it comes to keeping the puck out of the net. The club is currently (January 30, 2018) second in the league in goals allowed with 168 goals allowed in 50 games, which also puts them third in the league in goals against per game with a 3.36 goals against average per game.
If you're a Coyotes fan, none of these things are new. This has been a poor team in the ice for the last several seasons and unfortunately for the team and their fan base, it does not look like things are going to get better anytime soon.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.