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New Coyotes GM Armstrong: ‘I’m a big culture guy. Do your job’

Arizona Coyotes president Xavier Gutierrez (left) and new GM Bill Armstrong (right), during Tuesday's introductory press conference. (Arizona Coyotes Photo)

Recently-hired Arizona Coyotes’ GM Bill Armstrong wants the Coyotes to unleash their inner Michael Jordan and succeed in everything they do.

“I’m a big culture guy. Do your job,” Armstrong told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf. “You go into your farm field and you farm your field like you’re the best Michael Jordan at growing that and don’t get out of that.”

Armstrong was officially introduced as the team’s newest GM on Tuesday. He replaces John Chayka, who resigned prior to the team’s Stanley Cup playoff run in July.

Armstrong, who previously served as the assistant general manager and director of scouting for the St. Louis Blues, told Doug & Wolf that he sees a lot of similarities between the two clubs.

“I was with the Blues and we had empty seats, a change of ownership and everybody said, ‘don’t go there, you’ll never win.’ And I kind of believed in the people that were there at the time,” Armstrong said.

“…And I’ve always kind of followed the great people because I believe that they have your back and the best interest.”

Armstrong believes his new front office and ownership has a chance to install a winning culture, turning the Coyotes into a championship contender.

Armstrong is confident that his staff can recreate the level of success that he had in St. Louis, with the first step toward success being the ability to hire quality personnel.

“But if you just stick to hiring people to find the right players, it’s a very simple equation,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong remained measured when asked whether he tips the scales toward analytical-based scouting over more traditional evaluations.

He vouched for incorporating traditional scouting but also believes in using analytics to get a full portrait of a player.

“Let’s say that we gather as a staff and all of the scouts come in and they’re halfway done with their season,” he said. “They put this list on the board and your analytics people come in and they say, ‘listen, this guy’s in the wrong order.’ This guy’s a way better player and analytically he’s way up top, up here.

“You’re making your scout see that player through different eyes.”

Armstrong plans on using that hybrid approach to scouting to bring the Coyotes to the level of success that the Blues have reached.

That’ll probably be music to ‘Yotes fans given the Blues’ Stanley Cup championship in 2019 and their appearance in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

For now, Armstrong remains focused on getting his staff organized so they can compile a blueprint for future success in the Valley.

He’s confident that the team’s leadership, under owner Alex Meruelo and team president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, is where it needs to be to succeed on the ice.

“When I took the job I put together a five-year plan to understand where we’re moving to,” Armstrong said. “And the big thing is, I have to get to know a little bit of the staff. So they’re putting together some presentations on their thoughts on the players and where we’re moving and what’s available and all the things. So, we’ve got two good days of meetings lined up to kind of understand where we are and what assets you can create and all of those things.

“So, it’s really good. I’m looking forward to it and understanding a little bit more about the people working around me.”


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