With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to take a look at where each NHL team stands at this moment with a series of posts examining their season. Have they met expectations? Exceeded expectations? Who has been the surprise? All of that and more. Today we look at the Arizona Coyotes.
Record: 33-29-8 (70 games), fifth in the Pacific Division; Out of a playoff spot
Leading Scorer: Nick Schmaltz — 45 points (11 goals, 34 assists)
In-Season Roster Moves
• Traded Eric Comrie to the Detroit Red Wings for Vili Saarijarvi
• Acquired Taylor Hall and Blake Speers from the New Jersey Devils for Nate Schnarr, Nick Merkley, Kevin Bahl, 2020 conditional first-round pick, 2021 conditional third-round pick
• Traded a 2020 conditional seventh-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Markus Hannikainen
The ‘Yotes season got off to a pretty good start. Sure, they lost the first two games of the year to Anaheim (2-1) and Boston (1-0). They followed that up by winning seven of their next nine games (7-1-1 during that stretch).
They continued to have a good amount of success despite not having a forward produce like a superstar. They got the job done by committee, which isn’t always sexy, but it was yielding results at the time. So, what did general manager Jon Chayka decide to do right before the Christmas break? He made a splash!
Do you remember where the Coyotes were in the Western Conference standings on Dec. 16, 2019? That’s the day they made the blockbuster deal with New Jersey for Hall.
At that time, they had collected 42 points in 35 games. The 42 points put them tied for third most in the West. They were technically in first place in the Pacific Division, because they had a game in hand on the Edmonton Oilers, who also had 42 points.
Some agreed with the move, some didn’t. The biggest issue here is that Hall is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Will they be able to bring him back? That’s a big part of the trade.
Since they made the move, things haven’t gone as well for Arizona. They have a 14-17-4 record after making the big trade. It’s not even like Hall’s been bad. He found a way to score 10 goals and 27 points in 35 games with the Coyotes.
Where they go from here will be interesting. How much blame does Chayka get for swinging for the fences and missing? Does it cost him his job?
Highlight of the Season So Far:
It has to be the day the acquired Hall. Yes, things haven’t gone well since then, but if you’re a Coyotes fan, that was the day you got a former Hart Trophy winner. Whether you agreed with the trade or not, it had to be an exciting time for a team that hasn’t had much to be thrilled about over the last few years.