What The Arizona Coyotes Plan Should be After This Season

Arizona Coyotes plan
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For all intents and purposes, all Arizona Coyotes fans realize this season is already a bust. It was the Arizona Coyotes’ plan to have a roster that was not competitive so as to have a better chance at grabbing the 1st overall pick. Bill Armstrong seems to think with the rebuild he’s formulated that he will be rewarded with an opportunity to acquire a real game-changer if he can draft Shane Wright. He may be correct in that assumption, but what does he do when the 2021-22 dreadful season comes to an end? He will have 14 unrestricted free agents and seven restricted free agents. That’s an entire roster!

Detailing the Arizona Coyotes Plan After This Season

Once the season ends, general manager Bill Armstrong will have some serious decisions to make concerning all the free agents on the roster. While he may keep some of them, others may be gone before the trade deadline in March. One perfect example is Phil Kessel. It’s amazing that he is not gone yet. Not that he is playing all that badly with two goals and three assists in 13 games so far. It has more to do with his desire to not be on a rebuilding team, and the Yotes are trying to accommodate his wishes, but thus far that hasn’t happened.

UFA List – Keep or Not

Trade or Don’t Sign

  • Loui Eriksson – Let’s face it he was part of the ‘rebuild’, although he has little to offer. He was part of the Vancouver Canucks deal so they could rid their cap space of huge worthless contracts. He can go for sure. Don’t sign him, please.
  • Andrew Ladd – He was signed to alleviate the New York Islanders cap headaches, and is still owed $5.5 million for next season. He’s 36 and shouldn’t really be included in any rebuild for this team. Probably can’t trade him, so buy him out. Well worth the $666,667.
  • Dmitrij Jaskin – Bad experiment and costly too… a $3.2 million cap hit and has one whole assist in 11 games. Don’t sign him.
  • Antoine Roussel – Another $3 million waste. He has one goal in 11 games. The second leg of the Vancouver salary cap dump saga. Don’t sign him.
  • Jay Beagle – The third and final leg of the Vancouver salary cap dump… at $3 million with no points in 13 games, he too shouldn’t be signed… no way.
  • Carter Hutton – Another ‘over-the-hill’ guy at 36. This was a nostalgic signing by Armstrong. Just because he played well in St. Louis years ago type of thing. No… with a 0-2 record, .741 save percentage and a horrible 7.76 goals-against-average it’s a no-brainer. Another $750,000 savings. Bye.

Keep These Guys

  • Johan Larsson – He has five assists in 13 games but better yet 28 hits. He would be a good third-line centre for the future Coyotes, the team who will have all those draft picks. Re-sign him.
  • Liam O’Brien – This guy makes things happen. He has 20 hits in eight games. Two points, but his physical presence is needed so the team doesn’t get pushed around. He’s not afraid to drop the gloves. Re-sign him, he’s reasonable too.
  • Travis Boyd – He may be borderline, but can score, having two goals in his last five games. Nothing fancy, but gets the job done. Re-sign him.
  • Anton Stralman – He’s 35, but still playing well. He’s averaging 21 minutes a game and could be a good guy to mentor all those young prospects the team will draft. Re-sign him but at like $4 million tops.
  • Ilya Lyubushkin – This guy manages to stick around and plays a physical game on the blueline. He is third on the team in hits. Re-sign him, please.
  • Scott Wedgewood – What can you say about this guy? He’s magical and needs to stay on the team. A good backup goalie and has a low contract layout. Plus he knows how to end losing streaks. Very valuable. Re-sign him.
  • Alex Galchenyuk – Hasn’t played a game yet this season, but is on the mend. He really can fill in where needed and has some scoring potential the team desperately needs. Re-sign him, another guy who won’t kill your salary cap.
  • Ryan Dzingel – Just two assists in six games before he got hurt. He has potential, so very borderline as to keep him or not. For now, let’s say keep him. Re-sign him short-term to see if he produces.

RFA List – Keep or Not

Trade or Don’t Sign

  • Barrett Hayton – Many say he wasn’t developed correctly. Maybe, but he hasn’t produced either. This season he has one assist in seven games filling in while other forwards like Nick Schmaltz are hurt. He really hasn’t performed anywhere near the level a 5th overall draft pick should perform. Trade him, they have LOTS of other prospects we will draft next season, maybe they can step up better than Hayton.
  • Kyle Capobianco – He’s already 24 and has only played 14 NHL games with one goal. The guy has had the injury bug for so long and who knows if he’ll ever be the same. Trade him along with Hayton and see what the return can be. He’s had a chance, but being injured hasn’t helped him at all.

Keep These Guys

  • Lawson Crouse – Now this guy has earned his place on the roster. A constant hustler, tough guy, goal scorer, you name it, he does it. He is currently the goal-scoring leader on the team. Re-sign him for like five years, get it done.
  • Christian Fischer – This writer has been a constant critic of Fischer, but it appears if given adequate ice time, he will produce. He’s a fourth-line grinder and with five points in 13 games, his improvement is evident. Re-sign him for three years. He has shown heart and hustle.
  • Dysin Mayo – He’s a former 2014 draft pick and has worked his way up from the AHL Tucson Roadrunners. He’s a right-hand shot and plays well enough to re-sign him even if he goes back to the AHL.
  • Cam Dineen – He was a 2016 draft pick and has shown he has potential to be in the NHL. He too should be retained to continue his development, maybe in Tucson, but he could elevate to the NHL.
  • Karel Vejmelka – Where did this guy come from? Oh yeah, the Czech Republic. He has played with some rotten luck and not much support in front of him. Yet, the team should re-sign him. He just keeps the goalie wealth the team enjoys alive and well.

Final Analysis

That comes to 13 players remaining of the free agents for next season. Now, there certainly could be other roster changes up Bill Armstrong’s sleeve. Will he trade Clayton Keller? Or, better yet would any team be able to afford his $7.15 million contract through 2027-28? Or, how about Nick Schmaltz? He too has a lengthy deal worth $5.85 million through 2025-26. It’s not rocket science to consider these two guys have not lived up to their lucrative deals yet.

On the blueline, both Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere have to stick around. But, who would have predicted that Ghost would be outplaying Chychrun this season? If so, you should have been betting on it with those legal betting apps you see advertised constantly on TV.

That about rounds out the Arizona Coyotes plan going forward. Who knows which players Armstrong will draft? Let’s hope it’s players who can score, defend, or play goal. This team this year has had a challenge doing most of them.

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