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Losing Season Nothing Different for the Coyotes

If you’re an Arizona Coyotes’ fan, we are so very sorry.

The last time your favorite team made the playoffs was the 2011-12 season when your club went all the way to the Western Conference Finals only to lose to the Los Angeles Kings. That must seem ages for you guys.

Since that season, the Coyotes have been irrelevant. No one talks about them, they do not win a lot of hockey games, they do not have many star players, and they play in a conference that makes it very difficult for them to crack the top eight.

This season appears to be going the same way that the last many years have gone for this team, which is absolutely nowhere. In fact, I am pretty confident that it is one again going to be a playoff-less year for this franchise.

The team is 26th in the league with a 16-18-2 record. Yes, the Coyotes are just five points out of the second wild card spot, but the teams in front of them are all capable of jumping up and grabbing one of the two wild card spots, which basically puts the Coyotes out of the picture.

One problem this team has is that they cannot buy a goal. This team is currently 29th in the league in goals scored with 91 goals in 36 games, which means they are averaging just over two goals per game.

The team currently has just one player with at least 10 goals and that’s Brad Richardson. Behind Richardson are guys like Clayton Keller (eight), Derek Stepan (eight), Christian Fischer (eight), and Richard Panik (seven).

One member of the Coyotes that has been extremely disappointing is Alex Galchenyuk. Like he was with the Montreal Canadiens, he has been unbelievably inconsistent and has just 14 points in 26 games.

On the other side, the guy they gave up for Galcheynuk, Max Domi, has been terrific for the Habs. Domi currently has 35 points (14 goals and 21 assists) and has been a perfect fit for that hockey club.

Because they cannot put the puck in the net, it means that their power play has suffered as well. The team is 22nd in the league with the man advantage.

The only players that have been productive with the man advantage are Keller (11 points) and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (nine points). These guys know how to move the puck, know how to find the net, and know how to create space. Other than those two guys, not many other players are contributing.

What’s also hurting this team is that goaltender Antti Raanta is expected to miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury. Yes, he was not exactly having a great season when he came out, but nevertheless, he is perhaps the team’s best player and in order for them to compete for a playoff spot, it would be better for them to have him between the pipers.

Luckily for the Coyotes, both Darcy Kuemper and 22-year-old Adin Hill have actually played pretty well for this hockey club. Hill has actually been excellent as he currently (has a 2.20 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage, and one shutout.

All in all, however, this Coyotes team is much like other Coyote teams before them. They win games here and there, but in the end, they miss the playoffs and are golfing in April.

The name of the game is winning and unfortunately for the Coyotes and their fans, that is not something they do enough to remain relevant whether it’s the playoff picture or even as a whole.

 

*Photo: Associated Press on KDOW

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