Arizona Coyotes: Three Thoughts For Improving Coyotes’ Fortunes

Oct 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue (35) defends Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) during the third period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue (35) defends Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) during the third period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

The Arizona Coyotes have not started well and despite what management claims, the team doesn’t look like they have a plan, so we came up with one.

The Arizona Coyotes do not look very good.

Despite all the new faces this season, the results give the impression that nothing has changed all that much from last season.

The goaltending is still poor and the defense is yet again spotty at best.

The only change the team has made, on the whole, so far is that the Coyotes went from being lucky early last season to starting out a bit unlucky this season.

In fact, they are so unlucky that the Martin Hanzal and the top line has been held nearly silent despite playing well in possession.

On top of a status quo season thus far, top rookie Dylan Strome has been touring more NHL press boxes than games.

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While press reports form the Coyotes coaching staff and front office insist that the team is improving and everything is going to plan, fans aren’t seeing the results of that work on the ice just yet.

Since their plan isn’t working, or at least isn’t showing, here’s another one.

The team should objectively look at what has worked and what has not.

Step 1: Stop taking penalties

The Arizona Coyotes are taking  too many penalties for a team that can’t defend shorthanded.

In fact, they are so bad at killing penalties that they sit at 3rd worst in the league so far.

Again, it’s early, but giving up penalties and playing shorthanded isn’t the way to play as a team with such shaky goaltending.

What needs to happen is pretty simple; if you can’t kill ’em, don’t take ’em. Just draw ’em.

The Arizona Coyotes are a pretty young team, and a bonus to being young is having fast and fresh legs more often than not.

Outrun other teams late. Push them to catch up with you and make them skate hard for every icing. Eventually, they’ll be so tired they’d rather go shorthanded that keep chasing.

Step 2: Leave some lines alone

Constant line-blending works occasionally, and only for a select few teams that have chemistry all around the locker room (i.e. Chicago). But the Arizona Coyotes are a young team, and a team with a lot of new faces beyond the rookies.

So why would you want to constantly mix those players only to keep them together for one game?

That kind of blending won’t build chemistry. Instead it impedes confidence.

If a line has a bad game and they all get separated, they may all feel like they let each other down or that one person in particular didn’t carry their weight on the line.

Essentially, if you keep a line together longer and let it build some chemistry, then mix around the power play or PK, you let players build self-accountability. You let them take responsibility for the line’s success.

With that said, I’m also of the opinion that Max Domi, Christian Dvorak and Anthony Duclair need to be kept together. The sophomores can tutor the rookie and the line can outrun their opponents late in a game.

Step 3: Stop playing wingers at center

Shane Doan and Jordan Martinook are both pretty good players.

Obviously Doaner is getting advanced in age and Martinook is either taking a leap or overachieving, but neither is an NHL center. Yet, Dave Tippett has been giving both a considerable amounts of time in the face-off circle.

One of the biggest thing management could improve on is playing the players at their natural positions. It lets young players develop their game where they are most comfortable and doesn’t make veterans have to change their games for no reason.

The first line center should be Martin Hanzal and Brad Richardson should be the third line center. Have Christian Dvorak find a grove with the “Killer D’s” and let Laurent Dauphin be the solid, young 4th-line center that he is-no more of that winger crap.

Moreover, I will admit I see the value in scratching Strome, as weird as it seems.

That is one of the few moves I actually like this season. If you can’t send him to Tucson  but he’s too developed to go back to juniors, have him train with the team, let him go play for Canada in World Juniors and get the occasional NHL game in when injuries happen.

He’ll learn the system, stay in good condition and develop chemistry at practice.

Next: Poor Start Should Encourage Experimentation From Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes are not out of this season. It is still early and there is certainly no reason to call for blowing up the team and banking on a lottery pick yet.

If the coaches adjust how they manage the team and the players develop some accountability, this team has the talent to bounce back and create their own luck.