There has been a lot of drama surrounding the Arizona Coyotes during 2020. The chaos continued into the off-season as the Coyotes general manager quit, the organization cutting ties with seemingly good players, and releasing of their top draft pick. After all the commotion, the team is in a very awkward stage.
The team has limited assets after multiple failed trades for big-name goal scorers. They made some minor signings during the off-season but, the main reason why Arizona has had a horrible off-season is that they didn’t get any assets for their big-name players who left in free agency. They were also unable to trade Oliver Ekman Larsson.
Arizona brought in some fresh players this off-season. The team is in trouble with their cap space and, therefore, couldn’t make too many signings or expensive signings. Instead, they brought in two gritty forwards that will always give their 100% effort.
The first free-agent signing they made was bringing in Tyler Pitlick. As previously mentioned, Pitlick is a hard-nosed and gritty forward. Pitlick split last season playing with the Dallas Stars and the Philadelphia Flyers. Last season Pitlick scored eight goals and added 12 assists. Making a little less than $2 million for the next two seasons, Pitlick will be a solid addition to the Coyotes bottom six.
The other free agent Arizona brought in is John Hayden. During his career, he has been a decent depth player for the teams he has played for. The coyotes will be Hayden’s third team in his NHL career. He started his career with the Chicago Blackhawks and then got traded to the New Jersey Devils before the 2019-20 season. With the Devils, Hayden played in 43 games and scored three goals, and added one assist. With the Coyotes, Hayden will most likely continue to be a depth player and only play in the case of an injury.
Horrendous Asset Management
Entering the offseason, Arizona had a solid nucleus of players to build the team around. Instead of keeping those players around and becoming a competitive team, Management angered the team’s better players and made them want to leave.
Arizona acquired the former first overall pick from the New Jersey Devils in a blockbuster trade. Instead of signing Hall long term to help keep the Coyotes in contention for a long time, the team did not resign Hall. The Buffalo Sabres swooped in and signed the coveted free agent to a one year deal. Hall will do wonders for the Sabres as he is playing with the very skilled Jack Eichel. Be sure to check out the Buffalo Sabres offseason overview as we go into more detail about this signing.
The Austrian forward was cut by Coyotes management this offseason. Grabner battled injuries during his tenure with the Coyotes and was limited to just 46 games this season after he suffered a nasty eye injury. Grabner still possesses elite speed and will be a valuable addition to any team that wants to add some extra depth to their lineup.
The 35-year-old Swedish forward had a productive year in his first season with the Arizona Coyotes. During the 2019-20 season, Soderberg scored 17 goals and added 18 assists. That is good production from a middle-six forward. For some strange reason, Arizona does not want to bring back Soderberg for future seasons. Any team that decides to give Soderberg a chance should be pleased with the results.
The captain of the Coyotes demanded a trade away from the team during the offseason. He understandably did not like the direction the team was going. Instead of trading their franchise player for a king’s ransom in return, the Coyotes dragged their feet and ultimately never did trade Ekman-Larsson. The Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins were very interested in the Swedish defensemen but were not able to reach an agreement with Arizona.
What can we expect from the Coyotes?
After not making any big free agent signings and poorly handling their assets, the Coyotes are likely doomed for their usual finish in the basement of the NHL standings. Before the team can be competitive again, the Coyotes have to find a competent general manager that will make smarter decisions.
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