Hockey the Hard Way? Nah, There is Reason for Hope!

Nick Schmaltz #8 of the Arizona Coyotes is one of the center pieces in the franchise rebuilding. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Nick Schmaltz #8 of the Arizona Coyotes is one of the center pieces in the franchise rebuilding. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Arizona Coyotes wrapped up another subpar season and this one has that all too familiar déjà vu feeling. Another season goes by and the Arizona Coyotes are facing uncertainty with where they are going to play, which draft lottery player will they take, and a new ownership group trying to convince fans to get behind the direction the team is going.

This time they played dirty. They brought back the white Kachina Jerseys.

Well Played.

Another season goes by with a previously untested goalie that turned out to be decent for the struggling club. Another season goes by with a roster overhaul. Another season where the Coyotes pick up lousy contracts for future draft picks.

Kind of feels like we are being punked.

Why is being an Arizona Coyotes fan so difficult? Hockey is supposed to be in the desert, make no mistake about that. The Valley is filled with transplants from the Midwest, East Coast, and Canada. Hell, Autson Matthews grew up playing at the Ice Den in Scottsdale for the Jr. Coyotes and is now the best player on the planet. Matthews should have been a Coyote (insert crazy draft lottery conspiracy theory here). There are hockey fans here who are dying to get behind a winning team.

The Arizona Coyotes have one of the only fan bases where fans cheer on the Yotes, but have another team that they love as well. I honestly have never seen anything like it. It is difficult for a casual fan to get excited for a team with “Clayton Keller and a bunch of other players” after going all-in the year prior by mortgaging the future and bringing in Taylor Hall. The team couldn’t resign him and it was back down to Earth.

That is one way to scare away the front office from spending money and going big occasionally.

When are things going to change for the better? When is the front office going to start hitting on their top draft picks? With all of this losing and lottery picks, we should be a solid team by now.

So what is it going to take?

Last off-season, the team traded away team captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson, all three rostered goalies (Darcy Kuemper, Adin Hill, and Antti Raanta), rising young star Conor Garland, and center Christian Dvorak. The roster overhaul brought in two massive contracts (Andrew Laad and Loui Eriksson) and a plethora of draft picks. When the new season started fans needed a program to figure out who was on the ice. The fact of matter was, the team was in its first season of a full rebuild.

The post-Chayka era. For the record. I was not a fan when they hired him. I was not a fan of how he did things. I was happy when he left the building.

The team made the best of the first year of the rebuild, had some amazing personal feats (Nick Schmaltz and Keller were incredible), and then Keller fractured his leg. Just the Coyotes luck.

Enough of the negative, this team’s luck is about to change.

In spite of the dysfunction and chaos each season, there are five elements of this team that Arizona Coyotes fans should be excited about as we enter the offseason.