After an optimistic offseason in 2017, the Coyotes were viewed as a team not necessarily in the playoff picture but one definitely making improvements. A team that should be excited for the upcoming season as it is one that will showcase the true improvement of the Coyotes roster as they look to eventually make the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Instead, the Coyotes started off the season 0-9-1 in their first 10 games and it took them 12 total games to capture their first win. The worst start in Coyotes franchise history and one of the worst in NHL history.
A very disappointing start, it appeared that the Coyotes would be going through yet another throw away season. Eventually finishing 29-41-12 for a grand total of 70 points, believe it or not, there were actually some positives to take away from this awful season that saw the Coyotes finish last in their division.
The Coyotes weren't bad through the last couple months of the season. They weren't playoff material but considering their start, there was some major improvement. In February they went 6-5-1 that included a four-game win streak. In March, the Coyotes improved to 10-6-1 and in those 10 wins the Coyotes defeated some playoff bound teams. The first half of the season buried this team as a whole and by the time they began playing as everyone had expected them too, it was way too late. Next season, the Coyotes need to pretend that the start of the season is the All-Star Break and they will get off to a much better start.
Rookies Brendan Perlini and Clayton Keller showed the club that they are ready for the big show as they both posted terrific numbers considering their youth. Keller, led the Coyotes in goals, assists and points (23-42-65) this season so it is safe to say he is going to be a franchise talent in Arizona. Veteran leaders Derek Stepan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (who is expected to sign a very large contract with the Coyotes on July 1st) put up solid numbers and showed they are the pieces to build around when it comes to improving this young team that is poised for future success.
The Coyotes need to build off of their positives in the future and through their already solid all-around players, the Coyotes could become a very good team. They have young rookies proving they are NHL material, veterans who are leading by example, a fifth overall pick in the upcoming draft and a new face in Alex Galchenyuk who will certainly help with their scoring. The future looks good in the Arizona desert.
Here is Arizona's infographic for the 2018 season.