Coyotes' Secondary Stars Have Regressed Amidst Slide

As the Arizona Coyotes continue to fall further and further from playoff contention, the team's secondary stars aren't helping turn things around.
Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes
Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

We are quickly nearing the point of no return for the Arizona Coyotes, who have just one point in their past six games (0-5-1) as the playoffs drift further and further out of reach. Since the calendar flipped to 2024, they are 4-10-2. With eight points and five teams separating them from the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference playoff picture, the Coyotes' postseason hopes are basically on life support.

While you certainly can't blame the red hot Clayton Keller (eight goals and 10 assists over his past 14 games) for the club's predicament, they have been undone by a lack of secondary scoring support from the same key players who were providing a boost in the season's first half.

Sean Durzi

Sean Durzi
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Sean Durzi / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

Thrust into the role of No. 1 defenseman following an off-season trade from the Los Angeles Kings, Sean Durzi thrived upon first arriving in the desert. He scored in his first game in Arizona, logged nearly 30 minutes in his second and generally looked the part of the stud blue liner that so many teams covet.

All that ice time (he's averaging nearly three more minutes than last season in LA) might be catching up to Durzi. The 25-year-old finished out the first half of the season with six goals and 17 assists. However, he's managed just two goals and three assists in the 10 games since, including no points over his past four games.

Matias Maccelli

An under-the-radar success story of the season's first half, Matias Maccelli has also seen a decline in production that roughly mirrors his team's slide. He has continued to occupy the wing of the second line alongside Nick Bjugstad and Lawson Crouse, arguably Arizona's most consistent trio this season, but they simply aren't producing offense at the same rate as they had been earlier.

Maccelli, himself, opened the season with six goals and 21 assists in 35 games prior to the new year to build on a quietly impressive 2022-23 campaign. In 2024, however, he's managed just two goals and five assists in 16 games, including an 11-game goal drought that he just snapped on Monday against Philadelphia. In fairness to Maccelli, 2024 hasn't exactly been kind to Bjugstad (four goals, two assists) or Crouse (three goals, three assists), either.

Connor Ingram

How good was Connor Ingram over the season's first half? So good that the 26-year-old goaltender could be counted among the league's top All-Star snubs.

But after a stellar first half, things have slowed for Ingram, to the point where the club is leaning more on Karel Vejmelka to handle goaltending duties. In the eight games that Ingram has played in the second half, he has recorded a 2-4-2 record with an .889 save percentage and a 3.56 goals against average.

Amidst their struggles, the Coyotes' problems run far deeper than simply three players. That being said, if you're looking into differences from an encouraging start to the season and their current woes, Durzi, Maccelli and Ingram do represent the problematic number of players whose strong play has eroded of late.