National Hockey League

Pacific Division Preview: Arizona Coyotes

nhl2ARIZONA COYOTES: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
The Arizona Coyotes will aim to snap a seven-season playoff drought – the second-longest in the NHL – in the 2019-20 season. The Coyotes finished four points back of the second Wild Card spot last season despite scoring the fifth-fewest goals in the NHL (213). The only club without a 20-goal scorer in 2018-19 now has six-time 30-goal scorer Phil Kessel on its roster.

The Coyotes also tied for the sixth-fewest goals against (223), the only non-playoff team among the top 11. It was the fewest goals allowed by Arizona in an 82-game season since 2011-12 when it surrendered only 204 tallies before making a trip to the Conference Finals.

The Coyotes penalty kill tied for first in the NHL (85.0%) and scored a franchise-record 16 shorthanded goals (second-most in the League behind Calgary: 18).

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* The second-highest scoring active American player, in terms of both goals and points, joins Arizona in 2019-20 as Phil Kessel (357-466—823 in 996 GP) suits up for his fourth NHL team. Kessel has averaged at least one point per game in each of the last two seasons (1.12 in 2017-18, 1.00 in 2018-19) and is one of four players to score 20 or more goals in each of the last 11 seasons (also Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane).

* Since relocating to Arizona in 1996-97, seven players have scored 30 or more goals in a season for the Coyotes (11 total instances). Radim Vrbata (35 in 2011-12) is the only one to do so in the last 10 seasons.

* Kessel sits four games shy of 1,000 in his regular season NHL career and enters the 2019-20 season with a consecutive games played streak of 774 dating to Nov. 3, 2009, the eighth-longest such run in NHL history and third-longest active streak.

* Over the course of 17 games with the Coyotes from Nov. 27 to Dec. 30, 2018, Nick Schmaltz led the team in goals (5; tied) and ranked second in points (5-9—14) – averaging 18:01 of time on ice per game in that span. Half of those points came via the power play (4-3—7).

* Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson has scored at least 10 goals in seven of his nine NHL seasons, the most such campaigns by a defenseman in Coyotes/Jets franchise history. His six consecutive seasons of double-digit goal totals are tied with Dave Ellett (6; 1984-85—1989-90) for the longest such run in franchise history.

* Overall, only seven active defensemen have hit double-digit goal totals at least seven times: Zdeno Chara (10), Shea Weber (10), Dustin Byfuglien (9), Brent Burns (9), Ekman-Larsson (7), Drew Doughty (7) and Mark Giordano (7).

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* After leading the team in scoring in 2018-19, Clayton Keller, 21, enters his third full NHL season with 37-77—114 in 167 career games. Among players age 21 or younger as of Oct. 2, 2019, only three have more career NHL points than Keller: Patrik Laine (110-74—184 in 237 GP), Matthew Tkachuk (71-103—174 in 224 GP) and Alex DeBrincat (69-59—128 in 164 GP).

* Barrett Hayton, 19, is the only member of the top-five from the 2018 NHL Draft seeking his League debut, following a 2018-19 campaign in which he averaged 1.69 points per game with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (26-40—66 in 39 GP). Three players have accumulated at least 50 points as a teenager for the Coyotes/Jets franchise: Dale Hawerchuk (85-109—194 in 159 GP), Keller (23-44—67 in 85 GP) and Peter Mueller (22-32—54 in 81 GP).

* The Coyotes have two dozen players on their roster who will be age 23 or younger when the season opens Oct. 2, including Keller, Lawson Crouse, Christian Fischer, Jakob Chychrun, Christian Dvorak and Schmaltz – each of whom have played at least two NHL seasons.

BETWEEN THE PIPES
* After using five goaltenders in 2018-19, the Coyotes will look to Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper to carry them through the 2019-20 campaign. Raanta played a career-low 12 games last season due to a season-ending injury suffered Nov. 27, leading to Kuemper playing 55 games – all of them starts – to nearly double his previous career high (31 GP in 2014-15).

* Kuemper ranked sixth in the NHL in save percentage (.925; tied), goals-against average (2.33) and shutouts (5; tied) among goaltenders with at least 25 games played. He is one of six goaltenders in franchise history to finish among the top 10 in each of those three categories (min. 25 GP) – and the first since Mike Smith in 2011-12. Kuemper’s .925 save percentage was the best among netminders who skated in at least 55 games.

* The Coyotes/Jets franchise has had multiple goaltenders each play in 35 or more games in a regular season only once: Ed Staniowski (20-19-6 in 45 GP) and Doug Soetaert (13-14-8 in 39 GP) shared duties in 1981-82 en route to the club’s first-ever trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with the Arizona Coyotes/original Winnipeg Jets. . .
SKATERS
Most goals:  2 – Alex Tanguay (March 5, 2016)
Most assists: 2 – 13 players; most recent: Peter Holland (Dec. 13, 2016)
Most points: 3 – Alex Tanguay (March 5, 2016)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals:  1 – 12 players; most recent: Tony DeAngelo (Nov. 8, 2016)
Most assists: 2 – 3 players; most recent: Ed Jovanovski (Oct. 5, 2006)
Most points: 2 – 3 players; most recent: Ed Jovanovski (Oct. 5, 2006)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 46 – Mike Smith (Oct. 8, 2011)
Shutout: Yes – three players; last: Chad Johnson (Jan. 28, 2013)

First season with the Arizona Coyotes/original Winnipeg Jets. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 76 – Teemu Selanne (1992-93)
Most assists: 58 – Dale Hawerchuk (1981-82)
Most points: 132 – Teemu Selanne (1992-93)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals:  23 – Phil Housley (1990-91)
Most assists: 53 – Phil Housley (1990-91)
Most points: 76 – Phil Housley (1990-91)

GOALTENDERS
Most wins:  38 – Mike Smith (2011-12)
Most Shutouts: 8 – Mike Smith (2011-12)

— NHL Public Relations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.