Season Preview: Time for the Arizona Coyotes to step it up this year

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Cousins (25), Arizona Coyotes defensemen Ilya Lyubushkin (46) and Arizona Coyotes forward Brendan Perlini (11) look on before a face-off during a preseason game between the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings on September 18, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joshua Lavallee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Cousins (25), Arizona Coyotes defensemen Ilya Lyubushkin (46) and Arizona Coyotes forward Brendan Perlini (11) look on before a face-off during a preseason game between the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings on September 18, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joshua Lavallee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Arizona Coyotes had a difficult time in the NHL last season, but it’s time for the team to step it up and climb the standings this time around.

The Coyotes started the 2017/18 season in historically bad fashion, taking nearly the entire first month to earn their first win – a 4-3 overtime away game against the Philadelphia Flyers on 30th October.

The team sported a dismal 2-15-3 record after their first 20 games but managed to put things together in the second half of the season – reaching the 70 point mark.

Things should certainly be different this time around, with the Coyotes managing to retain almost all of the squad that ended last season on a high as well as making some changes and additions that can really help the team move in the right direction.

More from Coyotes News

The Max Domi for Alex Galchenyuk trade is certainly the biggest change made by the Coyotes this summer, with the latter penned in as the team’s second-line centre once he returns from a pre-season injury.

Galchenyuk had his best year in the NHL when he was utilised as a centre, scoring 30 goals and getting plenty of experience in the face-off circle.

His addition gives the team some solid players down the middle, with Derek Stepan remaining as the top-line guy with Christian Dvorak and Brad Richardson set to fill out the rest of the line-up.

The trade that saw the Arizona Coyotes take on Marian Hossa’s contract has also seen the team pick up some decent depth players in winger Vince Hinostroza and defenceman Jordan Oesterle.

Oesterle looks set to play a decent chunk of the season with Jakob Chychrun set to miss a number of games after recovering from ACL surgery he had back in April.

Hinostroza is likely to be a third or fourth-line winger for the Coyotes and gives them some decent depth, something the team will need at the start of the season.

The addition of Michael Grabner should also give the Arizona Coyotes some pace and a player with some defensive upside.

The team has no concerns with their goaltending situation, with both Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper looking healthy and hoping to build on some strong performances last season.

Injuries will likely be the deciding factor in the Arizona Coyotes’ performances this season, with the team already missing a handful of key players before a competitive game has been played.

The team, considering the overall shape it is in currently, should certainly improve on last season’s 29-41-12 record.

If the team is able to replicate the form they had in the second half of last season, the playoffs might not be an unreasonable expectation and fans have voiced their belief that the team is capable of reaching this.

Next. Barrett Hayton makes Arizona Coyotes roster. dark

What do you think Coyotes fans? Will the team make the playoffs this season? What do they need to do to ensure they improve significantly on last season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!