Coyotes GM Maloney on last season’s bid for McDavid: ‘Let’s be real bad’

Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney admitted that he had a "minor-league" roster last season.
Bill Streicher/Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney admitted on Monday what many skeptics claim and nearly every official on a struggling team disputes – that the club was trying to "win" by losing.

When asked by Sports Illustrated Alex Prewitt how Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson finished 17th in the Norris Trophy voting, Maloney let the cat out of the bag on a number of fronts.

Via Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt:

“It's really reflective of our team. Last year, we plunged. I did not do much to help our team (in) the last two months. If we were going to be bad, my attitude was, let's be real bad. There was a pretty big prize for being really bad.

“All that being said, it was a miserable last six weeks for every player, including Oliver and anyone who had to go out there, because our chances of winning were so slim. We basically had a minor-league roster.”

The results reflected that as Arizona (24-50-8) finished better than only the Buffalo Sabres (23-51-8) in the standings. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, the Edmonton Oilers (24-44-14) won the 2015 draft lottery and landed the "pretty big prize" of Connor McDavid.

Ekman-Larsson enjoyed a career season with Arizona in 2014-15, collecting a career-high 23 goals to go along with 20 assists.

The 24-year-old Swede has performed pretty well this season as well, recording a team-high 41 points (16 goals, club-best 25 assists) as the upstart Coyotes (25-24-6) find themselves vying for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.