Inside look at the Arizona Coyotes

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NHL.com provides in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams from November 16 through December. 16. Today, the Arizona Coyotes.

The Arizona Coyotes need to figure out how to pull off the big games when it matters most if they hope to become a Stanley Cup contender.That’s what coach Rick Tocchet said is needed to win important games, a new experience for the Coyotes after seven straight seasons without qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs before reaching the Conference first round. of the West in 2019-2020.

“Eighty percent of the game is over, I wouldn’t say neutral, but it’s kinda even most of the time,” Tocchet said. “We’re trying to find that 20 percent. Draw, late in the game, when you have a power play. Can you make this game to score the goal and win the game? Last minute of the game when you are standing by one, can you make the right play to prevent a goal? Being a team that can go to the playoffs is the next level and that’s why it’s important for these guys to know how to react to it. ”

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If the Coyotes are to take the next step, they’ll need more forward Clayton Keller and defender Jakob Chychrun. Keller hasn’t come close to the 65 points (23 goals, 42 assists) he scored in 2017-18, as a finalist for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL Rookie of the Year. Chychrun, entering his fifth season in the NHL, is set to bank on career highs of 12 goals and 26 points last season. Forward Guirlande de Conor (22 goals) can’t be the only Arizona player to score more than 18 goals again after the Coyotes averaged 2.71 goals per game last season, 23rd in the NHL.

Two of the Coyotes’ best prospects, 20-year-old center Barrett Hayton and 23-year-old defender Kyle Capobianco, will have to prove that they are ready to play in the NHL.

“When you win the Stanley Cup you have to have guys who have great seasons, and we’re looking for that core group,” Tocchet said. “I don’t want to put pressure on them, that they have to play unreal for us to win, but they have to take a step forward. They have experience now, so I’m looking for them to win. a real big bite of apple here and point us in the right direction again. ”

The Coyotes have been trending upward since finishing 29-41-12 and last in the Western Conference in 2017-18, Tocchet’s first season as a coach. A .529 point percentage (33-29-8) last season earned them 11th place in the Stanley Cup’s best of five playoffs, a four-game win over the Nashville Predators. Tocchet said he sees value in playing foreign games at the Coyotes since they qualified for the conference finals in 2012, and it’s something he relies on his leadership group to. preach to young players about their first NHL playoff success.

“I’ve talked a lot with these guys, and I think they’re ready to get rid of that young tag and move on to what we’re ready to play and be consistent,” the center said. Derek Stepan, who played in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final with the New York Rangers. “To take that step it takes work, and I think they’re all hungry and they want to do it and I think they can’t wait to see it. I can’t wait to watch it. ”

If the Coyotes are more successful this season, it can be done by committee; this is how the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019 when Bill Armstrong was their assistant general manager. Armstrong replaced John Chayka as Arizona general manager on September 17.

Shortly after Armstrong was hired, the Coyotes added the necessary courage by signing forwards. Tyler Pitlick, Johan Larsson and John Hayden. They must provide a boost in front of the goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper (16-11-2, 2.22 goals-against average, .928 save percentage, two shutouts), who faced 334 shots in nine playoff games (37.1 per game).

Playing meaningful games was important to the development of the Coyotes. How far they go this season and beyond depends on how quickly they find that 20% of Tocchet is looking for.

“We’re still in the early stages, trying to learn how to win under pressure,” Tocchet said.



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