ARIZONA COYOTES

ESPN gives Coyotes A+ grade during critical offseason for the franchise

Aug 9, 2021, 10:47 AM | Updated: 2:00 pm

The Arizona Coyotes received an A+ from ESPN in its offseason grades for all 32 NHL teams.

General manager Bill Armstrong was brought aboard in 2020 from the St. Louis Blues and is known as a draft expert who was a contributor to the Blues’ Stanley Cup run.

He has made a plethora of moves early in his tenure with the Coyotes that caught the eyes of Greg Wyshynski, senior NHL writer at ESPN.

Now this is how you tank, GM Bill Armstrong was hired in 2020 thanks in part to his prowess as a draft guru in St. Louis. But when he arrived in Arizona, he found a roster that was nudging the cap ceiling as well as an empty cupboard of draft picks — including ones the NHL took away thanks to the previous regime’s draft combine rule violations.

The Coyotes accrued draft capital that included the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 draft, but shipped away some of the franchise’s most important players along the way.

Goalie Darcy Kuemper, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and right wing Conor Garland were all names the Coyotes traded off in hopes of building a contender down the road.

Armstrong managed to move Ekman-Larsson and his onerous contract (although it did cost promising Conor Garland), trade Kuemper for a solid prospect in (Conor) Timmins and a first-rounder, and build a treasure trove of picks that includes five in next year’s second round.

The Coyotes still have more than $8 million in cap space and only seven players under contract for the 2022-23 season.

Wyshynski mentions that the Coyotes may not be done yet and look to trade veteran right wing Phil Kessel and center Christian Dvorak.

Penguin Air

Arizona Coyotes

Lawson Crouse #67 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the New York Islanders  at the UBS Arena on...
Kellan Olson

Lawson Crouse believes in Arizona Coyotes’ long-term vision, core

Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse spoke on his long-term commitment to the organization and what he sees for it in the future.
2 days ago
Lawson Crouse #67 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game at Gila River Are...
Arizona Sports

Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes agree to 5-year extension

Agreeing to an extension before an arbitration on Monday, Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse will make $4.3 million on average each year.
2 days ago
Logan Cooley, #3 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes’ Logan Cooley to play for U.S. at World Junior Championship

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley -- the 2022 No. 3 pick -- will represent the United States at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship.
3 days ago
Head coach of the Cleveland Monsters John Madden looks on from behind the bench against the Laval R...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes hire assistant coach John Madden

John Madden joins Andre Tourigny's coaching staff after spending the last two seasons with the San Jose Sharks as an assistant.
15 days ago
Zack Kassian #44 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the fi...
Sam Graveline

Armstrong: F Zack Kassian perfect fit for new style of ‘Coyotes hockey’

Among the many moves the Coyotes made during the NHL Draft, the sneaky acquisition of veteran forward Zack Kassian could be very important.
18 days ago
Conor Geekie is drafted by the Arizona Coyotes during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at...
Alex Weiner

Coyotes’ draftee Conor Geekie sets goal to make impact in 1st season

Arizona Coyotes first-rounder Conor Geekie says he believes he can make the NHL in Year 1 and have an impact.
22 days ago
ESPN gives Coyotes A+ grade during critical offseason for the franchise