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Mirage or oasis in the Desert?

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 A look at the Arizona Coyotes season.....


  First off, to start the year promising defender Jakub Chychrun started on IR and has been very slow to develop since his return. As in Glacial. A trade, Domi for Galchenyuk has worked out- for Montreal. They gave up on two perennial underperformers in Perlini and Strome, sending them to Chicago where they found new life and helped ignite a stagnant Chicago offense in exchange for Nick Schmaltz who underwhelmed and has been injured missing nearly half the season now. Derek Stepan the teams only true center was inured a week and a half ago and will likely miss the rest of the regular season. in November Antti Raanta who is one of the games underrated goalies was lost for the season handing the reins to career AHL/NHL yoyo Darcy Keumper.Last seasons hot rookie goal scorer Clayton Keller has 13 goals and has looked lost most of the year. Christian Dvorak missed most of the season to a torn Pec and has just came back into the lineup in the past two weeks. Same with minute munching defenseman Jason Demers who was lost in November and who just recently returned. Early in the year they as usual started god awful losing 5 of their first 7 to fall out of the race when it was still October. I know that plus/minus is an overused stat but the fact is they have nine players who are double digits in the minus category. and they have over 350 man games missed so far and counting. It seems every time someone like Dvorak or Demers stumbles back into the lineup they lose a Stepan.


AND THEN THERE IS THIS. Capitals were on purpose to please draw your attention to this.


 THE THREE LEADING GOAL SCORERS ARE Brad Richardson (!) 16, Chucky 15 and Stepan 13, a combined total for their top three goal scorers of 44. Alex Ovechkin has 46 by himself, 2 ahead of their top three guys. Richardson with 16 (!) leads the team and is tied for 126th in all of the NHL. 


AGAIN the top goal scorer is 126th in the league in goals.


THE POINT LEADER is Keller with 44,good for 101st in the league. Their top two combined are Keller and OEL with 81, there are 12 players in the game who have outscored their top two combined. Kucherov is only a handful behind their top three by himself. There are only 3 teams in the league who have less goals on the season then the Desert Dogs do.


  Looks like a lottery team? This looks like a roster that could and legitimately should be rivaling the Senators for the basement in all of the NHL. And yet here we sit with a dozen games (give or take) the Coyotes are sitting in a playoff spot in the Western conference, in fact they are within striking distance of the Coyotes for third in their division.


 Darcy Kuemper was one of those under the radar additions late last year, coming over from the Kings for Reider and Wedgewood and then signed to a three year deal in spite of an underwhelming career body of work. When Raanta went down, Kuemper was handed the starting job and has performed admirably in net. In fact since February first Kuemper leads the NHL in Wins.


 So a team led by Kuemper and a bunch of misfits and forgotten toys like Brad Richardson, Hinostroza, Panik, cousins, Crouse, Archibald, Fischer and Garland is inexplicably, Impossibly right in the hunt. OEL has been solid and deserves credit where it is due but really hasn't been carrying the team, lets get real he has been okay but not the savior.


  I have said all year that Barry Trotz deserves the Jack Adams as coach of the year for the work that he has done with the Isles and if not old No Neck it should go to Jon Cooper for the work that he has done as his Lightning have steamrolled everything in their path but if there is someone who gets no credit for doing more with less and never gets mentioned it is Rick Tocchet who has his team in position to make the playoffs in spite of missing 350 plus man games and is missing key players everywhere on what is at best a very ordinary roster. Tocchet has pushed all the right buttons at times getting key contributions from everyone. If he were to win the Adams he would certainly not be the worst coach to have ever done so.


 If you are still reading, thank you, I know this went a bit long I am just stunned that they are fighting with the Stars and Wild for a playoff spot this late in the season and I just wanted to put this out there.

Edited by yave1964
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