2018 Arizona Coyotes Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
The Arizona Coyotes have been in the Phoenix area for 21 seasons now. And if you are being generous with your definitions, you could say they were not stuck in the middle of some deep and seemingly endless rebuild for six of those seasons. This most recent period of 'rebuilding' has been particularly brutal. They haven't made the playoffs since 2012. But they haven't been moving forward as they rebuild like you are supposed to - they finished last in the conference in 2015, but then repeated the feat this past season. This team has been a total and utter mess. And I hate to break it to you, but they are likely to be again. They could be a little better than they have been, but they won't be good.
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Arizona Coyotes Offseason Moves
The big move of the offseason was sending Max Domi to Montreal for Alex Galchenyuk. It was a straight up trade, which often means that it is the case of teams trading their problems, and that is the case here. Domi never reached near his potential in Arizona and peaked as a rookie three years ago. Galchenyuk wasn't happy in Montreal and had fallen well off his 30-goal pace of three years ago. Both guys are young, and a change of setting seems ideal for both. It feels like Arizona got the better side of the deal, but it will take time to decide that, and both still play for lousy teams.
The other big move of the offseason was the addition of Michael Grabner as a free agent from the Devils. They overpaid because they have to in order to attract anyone, and Grabner was lousy in the 21 games he spent in New Jersey after being dealt at the deadline by the Rangers. However, he has had 27 goals in each of the last two years, and he provides a potential offensive boost for a team that was 30th in goals last year.
Barrett Hayton was the team's first-round pick, fifth overall, in this past
draft. He's obviously talented, but the forward is likely at least a year
away. The highest-profile young help for the team this year is likely Dylan
Strome, the third pick in 2015, who finally seems ready for NHL action
after a slower-than-anticipated development period.
Arizona Coyotes NHL Outlook
After a historically-awful start to the season, the Coyotes finished off with a 17-12-3 run in their last 32 games. That would be a playoff-making pace over the course of a full season. They are a team that has always been better than they appear on paper, and with the two additions they got at least a little better this offseason. They have a top-level goaltender when Antti Raanta is healthy, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who was locked up long term this offseason, is among the best defenders in the league. And the roster could feature as many as 11 guys under 25, so there is upside.
But they have struggled to get it together and play anywhere close to their potential, and the West is going to be just brutal this year. Raanta has been vocal in his belief that this is a playoff team. Goalies get hit in the head a lot, but his enthusiasm is a good sign as a team leader, and it's certainly needed for a team that hasn't had a whole lot to get up for over the last two decades. Colorado was expected to be horrendous last year, and they made the playoffs. That is the model Arizona is trying to emulate. It's a very tall task, though, and it's hard to really believe that this team can quickly shed what they have been for so long now.
Arizona Coyotes Schedule
The team plays six of their first eight on the road. That can be a good thing for a team, as it gives them a chance to bond and get to know each other better without the distractions and responsibilities of being at home. But probably five of the six are against playoff teams, so it would also be easy for them to dig a deep early hole like they did last year - and most years this decade, for that matter.
Arizona Coyotes NHL Futures Odds
The Coyotes are at +10000 to win the Stanley Cup at Bovada , which has them tied with five teams and behind 23 others. Needless to say, they aren't viewed as a real contender. After a 70-point season last year the win total is set somewhat optimistically at 80.5, meaning an 11-point improvement over last year is needed.
2017-18 Arizona Coyotes Predictions
At some point this team needs to turn a corner. Maybe. They keep adding young guys with upside, and management is actually doing a decent job. But it is a tough road. I look for signs of improvement this year, and they should have more hope than they have had in a long while, but the steps forward will be slow because the Pacific Division is insanely deep. I'd lean towards the "under" on the win total, but I'm quite confident they will be improved over last year.
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