Assessing the 2019-20 Arizona Coyotes

It’s been an interesting 2019-20 campaign for the Arizona Coyotes, as they are currently in an intense playoff race in a crowded Western Conference. Arizona currently has a record of 33-28-8, good for 74pts in 69 games, with a 5-5 record in their last 10. The Coyotes are currently under NHL investigation for recruiting violations and illegally conducting pre-draft physical testing on CHL players and could face serious consequences (potential loss of draft picks being one example). On top of this looming cloud and recent injuries to key players Conor Garland and Jakob Chychrun, the Coyotes still don’t know what the future holds for the NHL’s best free agent in Taylor Hall.

 

Earlier in the season, GM John Chayka shook up the hockey landscape when he traded a 1st round pick in the 2020 draft, a conditional 3rd in 2021, prospect Kevin Bahl, prospect Nick Merkley, and prospect Nate Schnarr, to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Taylor Hall and Blake Speers. In 34 games with the Coyotes this season, Hall has 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points, on top of his 6 goals and 19 assists in 30 games with the Devils. Hall has a career AB score of +0.78 but is coming off the worst individual AB season of his career with a -2.4. He has an impressive penalty/drawn ratio of 13:21, and a 51:40 giveaway/takeaway ratio. He will still get paid a hefty contract come July 1st, however, it may not be as shattering as people expected, as he isn’t having an outstanding season.

 

It is fair to say the Coyotes wouldn’t be in the playoff race at all without the contributions of 2015 5th round pick Conor Garland. In the one season of data we have on him, Garland posted a +0.61 AB score. He is on pace for another positive individual AB season, as he has a positive penalty taken/drawn ratio of 7:13, as well as a positive giveaway/takeaway ratio of 27:30. He is the Coyotes leading goal scorer as of now with 22 goals in 68 games and is Top 3 on the team in points with 39. Last night, he suffered a lower-body injury versus the Calgary Flames and is labeled as week-to-week. His loss is devastating for their playoff hopes, as the Coyotes are trying to reach the postseason for the first time since advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2012.

 

The Coyotes have three significant pending unrestricted free agents to re-sign on July 1st, including Hall, Carl Soderberg (Career AB +0.14), and top penalty killer Brad Richardson (Career AB -0.20. New majority owner Alex Meruelo and Alternate Governor/President of Hockey Ops/GM John Chayka have plenty of work to do this summer, but for now, the Coyotes are focused on qualifying for the playoffs. It will surely be interesting to see how the playoff race shakes out in the Western Conference. More to come.

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