This year was a tough one. Coyotes never found that same kind of flow we saw last year. Trade deadline was a crucial point of the season, but Coyotes never even tried to do anything else than selling. I felt betrayed. It looked like the whole Coyotes organization had given up on everything. Then i was completely sure that Coyotes won't make the playoffs this year.
So what went wrong? Many things actually. Our goalie Mike Smith should have been our MVP again. He wasn't. Some can blame the injuries, but even when he was healthy, Smith wasn't playing on his level. Some can also blame the defense, but in Coyotes' case that's just silly. Our defense was top notch once again.
Then we look at our offence. It still is our biggest issue. Or rather lack of it is. Coyotes should have been more active on trade deadline, not only focusing on selling everyone out. Coyotes don't have a real natural goalscorer. That guy who shines from game to game, fires up the crowd and his teammates, and yes, brings more people to the arena. There isn't any in Coyotes. Should we sacrifice our defense for offense? Yes. No doubt about it.
Next summer is crucial to the Coyotes franchise. Ownership issues are still unsolved, and the team itself has to improve for next season. Secured ownership would make the Coyotes more attractive for free agents and other players. Money problems would be atleast smaller. Everything would be better.
So what has to change in this team? Coyotes are in desperate need of offensive improvement. Next summer's free agency looks poor, so a trade is the best choice. Defense. For. Offense. Take a hint, Don Maloney. Re-sign the most important ones. Danish 23-year old Mikkel Boedker has to be signed long-term. He is the future of Coyotes. Other pending UFA's are listed below:
Lauri Korpikoski (RFA)
Michael Stone (RFA)
From these players, some have to go. If you ask me, Korpikoski is one of the leaving ones. Injury prone guy, can't quite reach the offensive potential in Coyotes. The other ones are harder to say. Stone should be re-signed. Klinkhammer and Conner are excellent players to backup injured guys. Bolduc has probably secured his place in bottom six. Gordon and Chipchura are very important and underrated. Can we re-sign all of them? Unfortunately not.
And oh, almost forgot Mike Smith. For some reason i've started to dislike this guy. He just isn't what he used to be. And if he's asking for $5 million plus, goodbye Smitty. But who is our goalie then? Jason LaBarbera is a pending UFA too. When we take a look at other pending UFA-goalies, it's not looking so good. Niklas Backstrom probably re-signs with Wild, so the Coyotes could be left out empty. My answer is Chad Johnson. He has proved that he is NHL-ready. Give the kid a chance. Make him our starting goalie.
Well, i guess i have emptied my head now. Dissapointing season to say the least. But there is always hope. Us fans have to look to the future. I for one can clearly see a Stanley Cup parade on the streets of Phoenix. Not this year, but who knows about next year. Keep fighting. The prize waits in the end.
Thanks for reading this. One last question for Coyotes fans around the world...
Can i get a HOOOOOWWWWWLLLLLLLL!!!???