The Arizona Coyotes are looking for some scoring punch. The lack of goals has caused them to miss the playoffs for seven straight seasons. They just missed the post-season by four points and adding a player like Ryan Dzingel could help them to get over the hump.
Ryan Dzingel Would Boost Coyotes Offence
The 27-year-old centre can play all forward positions. He has had 68 career goals, 72 assists in 268 NHL games in his four-year career. This past season which he split up with the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets he collected 26 goals, and 30 assists in 78 games.
The statistic, which has to impress Coyotes general manager John Chayka, is his career 15 percent shooting accuracy. He averaged about 1.65 shots per game with about 15 minutes of average ice time a game. If the Coyotes could get him the puck a little more often and add a few minutes of ice time to his total, he could produce some good results.
His versatility being able to fill both wing positions plus the centre-ice slot helps immensely. Especially when you consider how many injuries the team withstood this past season.
Foreseeing a top line of Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Dzingel can be a fairly formidable offensive weapon for the team. This is especially true since no Coyote player even attained the 20-goal mark this past season. That was their downfall to not making the playoffs.
With Schmaltz and Keller working their incredible chemistry, adding Dzingel into the mix can only augment all three players’ offensive skills.
Other Players Can Also Help Via Free Agency or Trades
It’s that time of year again where the name Phil Kessel comes up in the trade rumors. Of course, since Rick Tocchet has been at the Arizona helm there has been chatter that Tocchet is the only coach who can Kessel-whisper him into being a controlled contributor. With all that being said, there is talk that the Pittsburgh Penguins are thinking of moving some key players after two straight failed playoff performances recently.
No doubt that Kessel could pump some instant scoring for the meager Arizona club. Yet, he probably isn’t going anywhere.
So could such names as Artemi Panarin and Jeff Skinner. Unfortunately, they will demand way more than what Chayka will have in his budget. Panarin has made it known he desires a coastal location near water. The only water near the Phoenix area is Lake Pleasant, which probably is not what he has in mind. Unless a new owner comes forward to buy the team or become the majority owner, the Coyotes can forget about getting Panarin or Skinner.
Another possibility may be if the Coyotes look to the New York Islanders who will have three scorers on the free agent market. Brock Nelson (25 goals, 53 points), Anders Lee (28 goals, 51 points), and Jordan Eberle ( 19 goals, 37 points) are all possibilities. It’s unlikely that all three will be moving to free agency as the Islanders will seek some kind of return. Any of those options are a significant improvement to the Coyotes scoring dilemma.
Then, Chayka can always use his cap space excess he will receive from the Dave Bolland contract ($5.5 million) cap hit being gone, as well as Mike Smith’s retained $1.417 million to “help” a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs out of their salary cap issues. Can the crafty Chayka steal a young Leafs forward from them by taking over Patrick Marleau’s final year of his $6.25 million contract? It would ONLY cost Chayka the base salary of $1.25 million with a signing bonus of $3 million. What a deal!
The Coyotes could look into acquiring Andreas Johnsson (20 goals, 43 points) or Kasperi Kapanen (20 goals, 44 points) or hold on to your hockey helmets… how about William Nylander? There is no way the Leafs are going to sign Mitch Marner for the huge Auston Matthews-like contract when they are already near or over the cap limit. Something’s got to give.
If The Coyotes Can Add Scoring They Can Make the Playoffs
Many factors will contribute to the results of next season. Will Keller break out and have a great last year of his entry-level contract? Will young players like Christian Fischer, Lawson Crouse, and Jakob Chychrun start to contribute at expected levels? Can the great goaltending exhibited by Darcy Kuemper continue and will Antti Raanta be able to stay healthy?
And finally, will the defense which excelled last season be able to perform at the same or better levels?
The offense is the only ingredient missing for this team to be a playoff team. Let’s see what Chayka’s got. It could be his make or break season as the team’s general manager.