Spend enough time driving around the greater Phoenix area and you will find an advertisement proclaiming that the Phoenix Coyotes are here to stay. There is truth in that advertisement.
The NHL’s orphaned franchise finally has an owner and a future in Phoenix. At the very least they are here for the next five years. But let’s not focus on a possible move out of Arizona, from an out clause in the franchise’s sale agreement, and instead realize that the team is here and will be staying for a little while.
The Coyotes missed the playoffs last season, after making them the previous three campaigns, and there is a certain amount of pressure on the team to excel after finally getting an owner and a permanent home.
Phoenix signed head coach Dave Tippett to a five-year contract extension. Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Maloney also signed a contract extension with the Coyotes in the off-season. The Coyotes retained their brain trust and also grabbed a top free agent to help their anemic offense, 21st in the NHL in scoring in 2012-13 with 2.47 GFA.
The Coyotes made a splash in free agency by signing former Washington Capitals forward Mike Ribeiro to a four-year, $22 million, contract this summer. He tallied 49-points, on 13-goals and 36-assists, in 48-games last season.
The 2013-14 season starts tomorrow, October 3, for the Coyotes as they host the New York Rangers at Jobing.com Arena. All the conjecture and prognostication goes away when the puck drops at 7 p.m. PT on opening night and a new season begins.
New York Rangers vs Phoenix Coyotes (all statistics are for the 2012-13season)
Phoenix Coyotes: 21-28-9 (51 pts)
5th in the Pacific Division
10th in the Western Conference
Did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs
GAA: Mike Smith (2.58)
Save %: Chad Johnson (.954)
Shutouts: Smith (5)
Points: Keith Yandle (30)
Goals: Antoine Vermette (13)
Assists: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (21)
+/- David Schlemko (8)
Penalty Minutes: Yandle (54)
Goals For: 121 (2.47 GFA) 21st in the NHL
Goals Against: 125 (2.64 GAA) 16th in the NHL
Penalty Minutes: 504, 24th in the NHL
New York Rangers:26-18-4 (56 pts)
2nd in the Atlantic Division
6th in the Eastern Conference.
Lost in the Conference Semi-Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the eventual Conference champs the Boston Bruins.
GAA: Henrik Lundqvist (2.05)
Save %: Lundqvist (.926)
Shutouts: Lundqvist (2)
Points: Derek Stepan (44)
Goals: Rick Nash (21)
Assists: Stepan (26)
+/- Stepan (25)
Penalty Minutes: Arron Asham (50)
Goals For: 126 (2.58 GFA) 15th in the NHL
Goals Against: 108 (2.18 GAA) 4th in the NHL
Penalty Minutes: 444, 29th in the NHL