To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.
Today’s team: Arizona Coyotes
2014-15 record: 24-50-8, 7th in the Pacific
How they finished: Did not make the playoffs
Coach: Dave Tippett (7th season)
Notable additions: D Nicklas Grossmann, C Boyd Gordon, RW Steve Downie, G Anders Lindback, D Zbynek Michalek, RW Brad Richardson, LW John Scott, C Antoine Vermette (sort of, was traded from Arizona to Chicago mid-season and signed back with Arizona)
Notable subtractions: C Sam Gagner, LW Lauri Korpikoski, RW Martin Erat (don't laugh, he still had 32 points last season on a team that struggled to generate offense), RW David Moss
Schedule against the Capitals: Mon. Feb. 22 at Washington, Sat. April 2 at Arizona
Outlook: The Coyotes experienced a horrific season last year, but were denied the light at the end of the tunnel that was either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Despite finishing with the second worst record in the league, they fell to third in the draft after Edmonton won the draft lottery. The Coyotes drafted Dylan Strome and while he certainly has NHL potential, he is not the transformational talent that McDavid and Eichel are. In fact, there's a very good chance that Strome will start the season in the OHL.
So even after a terrible season last year, the Coyotes will head into the fall with nothing to show for it in the short term.
It also doesn't help that the team's offseason has been spent dealing with a lease dispute with the city of Glendale. While the matter appears to be settled for the time being, a two-year agreement does little to instill confidence in any potential free agents.
Arizona's leading scorer last season in both goals and points was Oliver Ekman-Larsson, a 24-year-old defenseman. Ekman-Larsson is an outstanding player who has a long NHL career in front of him, but when your leading scorer is a young defenseman, that's not a recipe for success. Even worse is the fact that the team's second and third leading scorers, Sam Gagner and Keith Yandle, are both gone. Shane Doan is still there and while he will remain a team leader, but at 38-years-old, there's little you can expect from him in terms of production.
The good news is that the Coyotes have some young offensive talent in their system.
Max Domi is the real deal and fans were already getting excited about him last season thanks to plays like this. Because of Arizona's serious lack of offensive depth, Domi looks like a lock for the NHL roster this season. It also would not be surprising to see Anthony Duclair and Brendan Perlini make their NHL debuts this fall as well.
Relying on three players who are not yet old enough to drink to lead the offense may not be the best idea, but this season will not be about winning games so much as getting their young talent NHL experience.
Defensively the team is not starting from scratch. Ekmann-Larsson is turning into a star and Michael Stone looks like he can be a solid top-four, possibly top pair defenseman. The pickup of Nicklas Grossman also adds some veteran leadership. Mike Smith has got to play better in net than he did last season, but there is some definite potential on the blue line.
Expectations: The only thing the Coyotes are going to contend for next season is another high draft pick. The 2015-16 season is not about winning for Arizona, it's about developing the young talent they have accumulated and beginning to build around it.
See more team previews:
Calgary Flames 8/3
Edmonton Oilers 8/4
Los Angeles Kings 8/5
San Jose Sharks 8/6
Vancouver Canucks 8/7
Chicago Blackhawks 8/8
Colorado Avalanche 8/9
Dallas Stars 8/10
Minnesota Wild 8/11
St. Louis Blues 8/13
Winnipeg Jets 8/14
Boston Bruins 8/15
Buffalo Sabres 8/16
Detroit Red Wings 8/17
Florida Panthers 8/18
Montreal Canadiens 8/19
Ottawa Senators 8/20<
Tampa Bay Lightning 8/21
Toronto Maple Leafs 8/22
Carolina Hurricanes 8/23
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24
New Jersey Devils 8/25
New York Islanders 8/26
New York Rangers 8/27
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29
Washington Capitals 8/30