Arizona Coyotes May Ultimately Benefit From NHL Season Suspension

Arizona Coyotes, Antti Raanta. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Arizona Coyotes, Antti Raanta. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Arizona Coyotes’ inconsistent 2019-20 NHL season abruptly stopped as the team prepared for its 71st game, a home tilt against Vancouver. Can a permanent cancellation be a blessing in disguise for this iteration of the team?

Since the sports world got the news that the NHL season was on hiatus, there was no shortage of opinions as to whether or not the 2019-20 season would ever resume. There was also ample speculation about what the playoff format might be, assuming the season would be resurrected after a couple of months under quarantine.

About the only thing worse than the Coyotes not making the playoffs is no Coyote hockey at all. Does the suspension/cancellation of the current NHL hockey season benefit the Arizona Coyotes, and if so, how?

The most obvious benefit to the ‘Yotes, as it is to the remainder of the teams, is that all players get some much-needed rest, while more seriously-injured players have more time to heal and may become available to their respective teams for the playoffs. Time away from the ice of course also benefits players that are slightly “dinged” up and have nagging injuries that won’t heal during their busy schedule.

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There have been indications that the NHL may consider including as many as 22 or 24 teams in the postseason rather than the normal 8 each from the two Conferences, even if the league cancels the remainder of the regular season.

In a couple of those scenarios, the Coyotes would be a playoff team. Do the Coyotes benefit from such scenarios? Yes indeed!

I doubt that any ‘Yotes supporters would want the Coyotes to miss the playoffs under these circumstances even if the team was ultimately swept in the first round, or otherwise eliminated early on.

After all, isn’t every team’s goal reaching the postseason from the very beginning, when everyone is undefeated and has dreams of being the Stanley Cup champions?

The experience gained by their rather youthful roster would be invaluable, and who knows if/when the Coyotes will again reach the promised land? Besides, Taylor Hall‘s first trip to the postseason in a Coyotes’ sweater could certainly enhance his chances of staying put in Arizona!

A benefit of the season actually being canceled for the Coyotes certainly would include having more time to assess their 2019-20 roster, which includes several members with expiring contracts. The Desert Dogs’ brain trust could then decide who to make offers to and who to let walk. It’s obvious that roster changes are necessary if progress is to be made toward being a playoff contender.

However, the Coyotes’ faithful would much rather see their heroes in this year’s playoffs by hook or by crook than worry about contracts and free agency, eh?! Wouldn’t it be amazing if the Coyotes managed to get into the postseason without having to play their final 12 games?

Yes, it would. Let’s go Coyotes!