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Coyotes Bill Armstrong discusses getting GM job, building roster

Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong stands on the ice at Gila River Arena on Sept. 22, 2020. (Photo courtesy Arizona Coyotes)

First-year Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong discussed the ins-and-outs of interviewing for his position and more during a podcast interview on Thursday.

Armstrong, appearing on Barstool Sports’ hockey podcast “Spittin’ Chiclets,” covered how not getting the GM job with the Florida Panthers, after spending two years as assistant GM of the St. Louis Blues, prepared him for his interview process with the Coyotes.

“I went back home after I didn’t get the job in Florida and I locked myself in my office for two weeks and wrote out completely exactly what I would do and soon after that Arizona called me,” he said. “So I started writing and doing my research. So when I landed here I kind of knew what I was getting into and where I was going and what I wanted to do. So when I went into those interviews, I was throwing. I was prepared.”

The former player used the toughness he learned on the ice to get the job in the front office.

“I always say that I’m a little bit better when I’m mad,” Armstrong said. “It’s like when you’re fighting somebody and you’re mad, you’re just a little bit tougher. Florida gave me a great opportunity to go in there. I was pretty upset I think at the fact that I didn’t get that job.”

Now in the position he was striving for, Armstrong is tasked with putting his own stamp on the Coyotes roster, a team that had to forfeit its top draft picks in 2020 and 2021.

“There’s a lot of planning because it’s pretty complex. You’ve got to think about five years out, what your team’s going to look like and how do you get them to look like you want them to look like and their identity how can you pull that off,” Armstrong said.

“So you’re walking into a situation for the next two years where you don’t have a first round pick. And that’s something that’s probably a little bit disheartening. But at the same time there’s no excuses. I knew what I was getting myself into.”

Armstrong said he told his staff that they’d have to overcome their lack of draft picks by finding players on the waiver wire, as well as through trades and the American Hockey League.

He believes his staff has what it takes to do just that, building the best roster possible going forward.

“We’ve got to find a way to get players next year in here. So there’s no excuses,” he said. “And that’s how I formulated the plan was to basically to hire the best hockey people that I can find and put them in the right situations.”

Armstrong in the more than two hour long podcast also discussed analytics in hockey, Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s future in the desert and how a symbiotic relation with players leads to a successful tenure as GM.


Coyotes Interviews and Podcasts