Where Do The Arizona Coyotes Stand Ten Games In?
The Coyotes sit at 5-4-1 with 11 points, merely one point off of the Pacific Division lead. I doubt any of us would have predicted that at the beginning of October. With that caveat in place, this team could easily have another 3 or 4 points if not for mental lapses and some rather poor goaltending of late. For every bright light such as Max Domi and Anthony Duclair lighting up the scoreboard and providing an unending stream of excitement for fans, the defensive corps have had regular breakdowns and been out of position resulting in copious amounts of odd man rushes.
Arizona is a team that is presenting itself to viewers as an enigma.
Are they the team that scores 2.70 goals per game, or the team that of late has allowed 2.80 goals per game? Is Mike Smith the goaltender who stopped 104 of the first 106 shots he faced this season for a .981 save percentage, or the goaltender who has looked like Swiss cheese of late and has had a sub .900 save percentage in his last six starts? Can the veteran skaters match the rookies in the Coyotes lineup who have produced 12 of the 27 goals the club has scored so far this season? Can those rookies keep up the pace they’ve set for themselves?
Right now the verdict is out. We don’t know for sure if this is a terrible team currently masquerading as a mediocre team, or a young team coalescing and working it’s way into semi-respectability. Based on the past few performances, I’m inclined to believe that the early returns were misleading and the Coyotes are as bad as everyone thought they would be. However, the clip at which they are scoring goals suggests that if they can get their yips under control in regards to bad pinches and positioning, they could easily route off a lot of these primo chances they are giving up to the opposition.
Let’s take a look and see where the Yotes stack up in some key categories against the league:
As we can see, the Coyotes rank near the bottom in nearly every meaningful category except PDO.
Unfortunately, ranking high in PDO isn’t great. It means that likely either one or both of your team’s save percentage or shooting percentage are out of whack. For the Coyotes, both the team shooting percentage and save percentage were astronomically high as recent as a few games ago. At one point, the team’s PDO was over 106 (“normal” is 100 in this scenario) so that is part of the regression we have seen in these recent games. In the simplest terms, the luck we had early hasn’t been with us as much lately.
The Coyotes inability to generate consistent shots has been a sore spot for Howls It Going and I’m sure other Coyotes fans throughout the desert. Whether down low or from the point, the club has significant trouble getting shots through to the opposing goalies. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has generated the most shots on net, but he and the rest of the blueline have seen numerous shots stymied before they ever reach the crease due to shooting from bad angles or having little off the puck movement in the offensive zone.
But hey, at least we’re good at face-offs and our penalty kill isn’t completely terrible. There’s always a bright side!
These numbers tell us that the Coyotes are probably a bad team that had a good little streak to start the season. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not unexpected and it doesn’t leave the team any worse off than it was to start the season.
We still possess two of the most dynamic rookies in the league. Klas Dahlbeck ain’t too shabby either. OEL is beginning to escape his funk. Boedker is always good for making you scream at the TV – for better or worse. Dylan Strome is still in the pipeline. There’s a lot to be excited about and a lot of exciting players to watch even if the wheels fall off.
It’s unlikely the Coyotes will make the playoffs, but they won’t be last years disappointment either.