Arizona Coyotes G. M. Bill Armstrong Seeks Young Coach, Impact Players

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Arizona Coyotes 2021-22 roster will be led by a young coach with a roster full of difference makers if GM Bill Armstrong has his way.

In the recent exit-day Zoom call with reporters, Arizona Coyotes General Manager Bill Armstrong shared his thoughts on a variety of things, including what kind of coach he wants to lead his relatively young team and what type of player he plans to add to the Yotes 2021-22 roster.

GMBA believes that his team needs a little “push,” some added motivation, to get the Desert Dogs over the “middle of the pack” hump they’ve been stuck in for years and toward being a consistent playoff team. As expected, the names of several potential candidates were rapidly thrown on to the coaching carousel to be picked through, but the Coyotes organization has no plans to join any feeding frenzy involving established NHL retreads, choosing instead to find a younger, more dynamic coach with leadership skills to guide the Arizona Coyotes.

It made me wonder if Mike Van Ryn, assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues, would fit the bill with his ties to the Arizona Coyotes, the Tucson Roadrunners, and the Blues. Only time will tell. Regardless of the ultimate choice, however, Armstrong made it clear that it was going to be up to each player to improve himself during the summer and ultimately prove to the staff that he belongs on the roster.

Regarding the team’s current roster, and to no one’s surprise, Armstrong praised the play of defensive stalwart and blue line scoring machine Jakob Chychrun and the offensive contributions made by Michael Bunting in the 21 games he played for the Coyotes. In Bunting, the Yotes finally have someone willing to earn his keep by being a pest and getting physically abused in and around the blue paint, and fans love him for it. Hopefully the Yotes can add another warrior like Bunting.

GMBA also liked the hard-nosed play and work ethic of Johan Larsson and Tyler Pitlick, and in addition to possibly resigning some players from the incumbent roster (like Alex Goligoski), he’ll be looking at the free agent pool too, in BA’s words, to “find the right guys to present some identity.” To what identity is he referring? Armstrong wants the battlers and grinders, the players that are tough to play against and willing to fight for the puck, rather than just rolling over if the team gets behind.

While watching the playoffs, Coyotes fans will see plenty of players that fit the bill, and we’ll mutter to ourselves (or perhaps to our pets if they’re paying any attention at all!) something to the effect of “that’s the kind of player the Coyotes need” or “maybe GMBA can find us a cheaper version of that intimidating beast.” Won’t it be nice to day dream just a bit while we watch those incomparable NHL playoffs, hoping that the Desert Dogs finally lay a solid foundation and get things headed in the right direction? Enjoy the playoffs, my fellow hockey fans. Let’s go Coyotes!