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.

Arizona Coyotes

Lawson Crouse of Canada, Milan Lucic of Canada and Peyton Krebs of Canada Team Canada celebrates af...

Associated Press

Lawson Crouse scores, Andre Tourigny-coached Canada defeats Germany to win hockey worlds

Arizona Coyotes' Lawson Crouse scored for Canada in a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

16 hours ago

Mesa Mayor John Giles, Tempe mayor Corey Woods...

Arizona Sports

Mesa mayor ‘encouraging’ Coyotes to look at private sites for new arena

Could the Arizona Coyotes find a new arena home in Mesa and find a way to avoid a public vote like the squashed Tempe plans required?

7 days ago

Logan Cooley #92 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers warms up before a game against the Quinnipiac Bobc...

Wills Rice

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley to stay 1 more year in college

Arizona Coyotes highly regarded center prospect Logan Cooley announced he is staying in college for one more year.

9 days ago

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes reportedly inquire about Mesa’s Fiesta Mall site in arena land search

Mesa's old Fiesta Mall footprint is among the land the Arizona Coyotes have inquired about, CBS5's and 3TV's Dennis Welch reported Thursday.

11 days ago

Mullett Arena, Arizona Coyotes, tempe...

Arizona Sports

Coyotes to play at Mullett Arena in 2023-24, seeking new Valley site

The Arizona Coyotes expect to play at Mullett Arena as planned in the 2023-24 season amid uncertainty about their future, the team confirmed.

12 days ago

Arizona Coyotes Tempe arena...

Jake Anderson

Hockey world reacts to Tempe voters’ rejection of Coyotes’ arena plan

One of the Arizona Coyotes' captains and a face of the franchise Clayton Keller made his reaction felt with one simple emoji.

12 days ago

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