The St. Louis Blues are very fortunate to have the talent they do. It was not too long ago they were sitting where Arizona is now.
The Arizona Coyotes have not presented much of a challenge to the St. Louis Blues in recent years. The team formerly known as Phoenix and known as the Winnipeg Jets before that, has fallen on some hard times.
Going through organizational turmoil, that is to say not having a real owner, will do that to a franchise. Surprisngly, the Coyotes have been a model of stability behind the bench with only three coaches in 16 years.
It’s been all the other stuff that throws the team off. Will they stay in Arizona or will they move to a different city in Arizona? Will they be bought and moved to Canada?
Players do their best to tow the company line and say it does not affect them. How can it not though?
Your home might not be your home in those scenarios. New cities want new talent, so maybe you’re sent elsewhere or your services are no longer needed.
Those are life altering situations. It is very easy to understand how it might affect the performance of the people within the organization.
Now, things are changing. There is a local ownership group that will keep the team in Glendale for the near future. There is young talent and more on the way.
Arizona might not turn things around overnight, but they aren’t as far away as other teams to start. They could be a team to watch out for very soon.
The Arizona Coyotes made the most of the 2016 NHL Draft. They picked up two needs and two fantastic players. Whether either of them will even see a tick in the NHL this season remains to be seen.
Keller is an extremely skilled, though a bit small, forward. He is coming off a season of 107 points in the USHL.
Chychrun is a highly touted two-way defenseman. He had 49 points in the OHL and EliteProspects.com scouting report said he is a rising star with a toolbox bursting at the seams.
The only problem with both players is they are unlikely to play right away. Keller is probably going to Boston University and Chychrun is currently earmarked to return to his OHL team, the Sarnia Sting.
Neither of those names jump off the page. Neither are likely to be the missing piece that will lead the team to final victory in the spring. That does not mean they aren’t good signings though.
Goligoski is mainly an offensive defenseman. The only season of the last five he failed to score over 30 points was the lockout shortened year of 2012-13.
He’s not bad defensively either. He’s willing to put his body on the line and has triple-digit hits and blocks the last two seasons.
McGinn is a decent mid-six forward. He has averaged 20 goals a season when he plays a full year.
That’s the drawback. He hasn’t played many full seasons. McGinn only has three seasons where he played in 70 or more games.
His health could certainly be an issue. He played in 19 games as recently as the 2014-15 season.
Still, he was brought in more for depth as opposed to being a featured player. He should fit the bill well in that regard.
The Coyotes also acquired another offensive leaning defenseman. They picked up Anthony DeAngelo in a trade with Tampa Bay. De Angelo is fresh off a 43 point season in the AHL, but he may stay in the American League this year.
There weren’t any notable subtractions from the roster according to Craig Custance, so we’ll jump right into prognosticating.
Arizona is in an odd position. They still need some help, especially on the blue line, but have almost no cap space to work with.
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The Coyotes may have shot themselves in the foot, in the short term, by picking up Pavel Datsyuk‘s contract in order to obtain the draft pick used on Chychrun. In the future that will probably be a smart deal, but assuming he does not play in the NHL this year, it won’t look so good right now.
Arizona has a two-fold problem. They don’t have consistent scoring and their defense/goaltending has not been good enough to keep goals out either.
That’s not exactly a recipe for success going forward.
Will Arizona convince Keller not to attend college for a year? Would he even help right away?
The answer to both is likely no, but since I have not been in their camp it is harder to tell. Additionally, it would probably benefit him to not jump straight to the pros, but the lure cannot be discounted.
Overall, Arizona may be in a holding pattern. Adding Goligoski and having a healthy Mike Smith could potentially bump them into the playoff picture, but it seems unlikely.
It is not impossible for them to sneak into the wild card picture, but they would need a lot to go right for them. The more plausible scenario is they miss the playoffs once again and begin looking to their future with these big name prospects.
As mentioned, the Blues have handled the Coyotes quite well in recent years. They have not lost to Arizona since 2013-14 and have not lost more than a single game since 2010-11.
The Blues have an overall record of 74-60-18 against the former Winnipeg/current Arizona franchise. The teams seem to alternate decades as the Coyotes had the better record in the 80’s and 2000’s and the Blues in the 90’s and 2010’s.
St. Louis will have to wait awhile to continue their dominance against Arizona. All the games against the Coyotes have been backlogged for this year.
The first game is not until Saturday, March 18 in the desert. The second and third games come in quick succession on Monday, March 27 at home and Wednesday, March 29 on the road.
Winning all three games against a team is not overly common. Still, if the Blues are on their game, they are the better team. A record of 2-1 would not be out of the question and should be expected.