Arizona Coyotes’ New Years Resolutions

Nov 12, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett looks on during the second period against the Boston Bruins at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The calendar year of 2016 was not kind to the Arizona Coyotes. They amassed a record of 28-44-10 and dug themselves a huge hole to start this season. What needs to change in 2017?

The only place to go is up for the Arizona Coyotes.

While the team showed some promise this year, particularly from the youngsters, there is plenty left to be desired.

There were a number of issues that plagued the team over the course of the year, but three stood out from the pack and need to be addressed going into 2017.

Here are three New Years Resolutions that, if followed, will make 2017 brighter than 2016.

Arizona Coyotes

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

More Playing Time For Young Guns

The Arizona Coyotes best days are certainly ahead of them.

Widely considered to have one of the best prospect pools in the league, a lot of those key players have already arrived in the NHL.

That list includes Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Christian Dvorak, Brendan Perlini, Lawson Crouse, and Jakob Chychrun. All figure to be important pieces going forward.

So why, then, have aging veterans consistently been given more ice time than most of these players? Apart from Domi, each of the forwards mentioned has played less than Holland, Doan, Richardson, Vrbata, and Hanzal.

As for Chychrun, only Connauton (now in the AHL) and Schenn have averaged fewer minutes this year. The gap between him and the next most played defenseman is a full three minutes.

Playing the veterans more is clearly a strategy to win games. For example, Hanzal is the most experienced center and wins faceoffs while Vrbata leads the team in scoring.

11-21-5 is not a winning record, however.

The Coyotes have nothing to lose and everything to gain by playing the young guns more. Playoffs are out of the question at this point, so the priority needs to shift to giving the future core of this team as many quality minutes as possible.

And who knows? Maybe that recipe will lead to more wins.

Arizona Coyotes

Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

More Discipline

Taking penalties is so easy to improve on and yet so crippling to a team’s success if they don’t.

Here are all the negatives to taking too many penalties:

  • Increased scoring chances for the opposition.
  • Wears out the goaltender.
  • Wears out the top defensemen.
  • Forces skilled players (and young players) to sit on the bench for extended periods of time, REDUCING THEIR ICE TIME.
  • Deflates team morale and momentum.

So many negatives, and yet the Arizona Coyotes have taken the fourth most penalties this season. Last year they were one of only two teams with over 1,000 penalty minutes.

As Dave Tippett has said, taking penalties is like shooting yourself in the foot.

Clearly this team has gone numb to the pain, but that needs to change if they want to find any success in 2017.

Arizona Coyotes

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Consistent Effort For 60 Minutes

Perhaps the area the Arizona Coyotes struggle the most, this drives fans crazy.

Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers was a perfect example of this issue. Let’s see if this formula looks familiar:

  1. Come out flat, usually get outshot: Check
  2. Allow an early goal or two: Check
  3. Wake up as the game moves along: Check
  4. Battle back to tie the game: Check
  5. Lose focus and give it away: Check

The players said it themselves, going 0-5 on the recent homestand was embarrassing. They need to take more pride in every minute they get to step on the ice.

It’s a privilege, not a given.

They constantly acknowledge the need to play a full 60 minutes, but rarely deliver.

A long, players-only meeting was held after the Rangers loss but the results didn’t come to fruition against Calgary.

Here’s hoping 2017 starts off a little better, and if the team can get some of these issues under  control watching the games might become more palatable.

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