Photo via Daryl Webb/AP Photo
The Arizona Coyotes started the season strong, giving fans hope for a potential playoff run. However, the team has hit some major rough patches throughout the season putting them behind and most likely out of the playoffs for another season. The Coyotes have endured multiple injuries this season, the most devastating being at goaltender. Darcy Keumper and Antti Raanta have both gone through this season battling through injuries trying to maintain the role of starting goaltender. With inconsistency in the net, the team has felt that struggle with adding on inconsistent defense in switching line-mates, and new players being brought up from the minors.
While injuries have not been scarce for this team, it doesn’t seem to be the only issue.
Coaching has also seemed to destroy this team’s chances of getting to the playoffs. While head coach Rick Tocchet has pushed this team in the right direction, his calls have been questionable at times. Through all the injuries and mediocre defense, there was some light in the tunnel as defensemen Jakob Chychrun and Alex Goligoski became the star duo and took charge as the top defensemen on the team. This duo fought off top forwards on other teams while also playing two-way hockey and both managed to find the net themselves multiple times. While these two players were strong on the ice together, Tocchet felt the need to break the two apart and separate them onto separate lines. After this was done the team started to lack defense and the consistency that the team had in guarding the net which caused for more goals to be scored on the rotating goaltenders.
This team has had a rough season due to injuries causing inconsistency with the lines they have had, but they have had their achievements as well. Adding players such as Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel have really boosted the team morale with veteran experience. This team has had great moments but has seemed to fall short of the playoffs for another season.