The first game after the trade deadline was sure to be a strange one for the Arizona Coyotes. Due to the fact that they traded away some key veterans in their lineup such as Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek and Keith Yandle, the whole team dynamic significantly changed. Though the outcome of the game was not ideal, the Coyotes new team looked as though their future could be promising.
The Coyotes have been known to fall apart during the third and not play a full 60 minutes, and even if the team didn’t get the ‘W’ that they hope for, the effort they had out on the ice was impressive. There seemed to be more energy than there has been in a while. Shane Doan fighting fellow captain Ryan Getzlaf and several other aggressive incidences by players like Connor Murphy was something that hasn’t been present on the ice much this season. It boosted the team.
“I think we tried really hard; there was a lot of try in everybody.”- Dave Tippett on the game
Doan, who is signed with the team through the 2015-16 season, is not a proponent of the teams overhaul, and he was very vocal about this.
“It was not my idea, not my ideal situation,” he said, according to azcentral’s Sarah McLellan. “There’s no one that’s 38-years-old that thinks it’s a good idea, ‘Let’s rebuild.’”
The new faces
Those acquired by the Coyotes during this years trade deadline who were eligible to play made their debut with the team during Tuesday night’s game against the Ducks. After the game, there was lots of talk about how the locker room felt and looked before the game. Excitement and energy were the two most used words, and those two things showed on the ice.
John Moore, a defenseman acquired from the Rangers in the Keith Yandle trade seemed to be a good asset on the ice. Tippet said he had “lots of energy” and that he is a “great skater”. He was put out on the power play with Oliver Ekman-Larsson to try things out. Tippett said this is probably going to be where you see him considering his “forte” is being an offensive defenseman just like OEL. Tippett feels that there is still growth in his game, but “you aren’t going to find out where the growth needs to come from until you find out what he is”.
Klas Dahlbeck was “solid” in the back according to Tippett. The acquisition from the Chicago Blackhawks has some learning to do, just like everyone else does. Once used to the Coyotes system, he will be a positive incorporation to the blue line.
“I still think we need a good practice together… but all the guys they jumped in there and gave it a good try. Not very often do you have this many new players that jump in your lineup so it’s a little bit of a different scenario here.” “Lots of talking, lots of teaching and lots of preparation that you wouldn’t usually do mid-season like this.”
The talks of a rebuild
With all of the discussion about how the Coyotes are involved in a ‘rebuild’, there is usually a negative connotation that comes along with it. True rebuilds tend to last through several seasons, and general manager Don Maloney was calling for it to be around 3-5 years. Head coach Dave Tippett is not expecting for things to take that long. He believes that they can turn things around sooner than that.
Right now, the Coyotes are still missing some key players due to injury such as Martin Hanzal (back surgery) and Mikkel Boedker (ruptured spleen). When they come back next season, on top of the prospects that they have who are hopefully at the NHL level by next year, the team is going to look different yet again.
“Next year you add some of the top prospects in there and we’ll look a little different again. So right now is not a good judge of where we are.” Said Dave Tippett on the next season.”I think it all depends on how those prospects come, our development is, and how quick we can get some of the players to get up to NHL status.”
An “A” for effort?
Coyotes name Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Kyle Chipchura alternate captains in lieu of trading Vermette and Yandle.
Ekman-Larsson seemed to be an obvious choice due to his performance this season. His bid to the All-Star game and his overall year could be attributed to the choice from the team. Chipchura is a leader in the locker room according to the coach. This may have seemed like a ‘random’ choice to fans, but he seems to be a solid choice for the team.
“Chip (Chipchura), if you ask anybody in that locker room, he’s a rock-solid guy,” coach Dave Tippett said. “Just does anything for teammates,. Just works everyday. He’s a really good pro. Right now, he’s a guy who can be a stabilizer in that room for us. For the rest of the year, those guys will take over that role.”