ARIZONA COYOTES

Arizona Coyotes give GM Bill Armstrong contract extension

Sep 6, 2023, 8:46 AM | Updated: 9:04 am

Bill Armstrong of the Arizona Coyotes attends the 2023 NHL Draft at the Bridgestone Arena on June 2...

Bill Armstrong of the Arizona Coyotes attends the 2023 NHL Draft at the Bridgestone Arena on June 29, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes agreed Wednesday to sign general manager Bill Armstrong to a contract extension, reports Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

The team confirmed a multi-year agreement but didn’t disclose the terms.

“For the past three years, Bill has done an excellent job restructuring our hockey operations department and rebuilding our hockey team,” Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo said in a release. “He has acquired elite talent through the draft, trades, and free agency, and has established a winning culture by adding a great coaching staff and other key hockey operations personnel. I am confident that under his leadership, the Coyotes will soon become a perennial playoff team and we will continue to work towards our goal of bringing a Stanley Cup to the Valley.

“Bill has a great eye for talent, and he has done a fantastic job assembling an excellent team on and off the ice,” said Coyotes President & CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez. “He has worked extremely hard, stayed true to his plan, and has earned the trust and respect of ownership, our coaches, our players, and our fans. We look forward to continuing our work together as we strive for our ultimate goal of delivering a Stanley Cup to Arizona.”

The GM brought in during the 2020 offseason has overseen a tremendous amount of roster turnover during its rebuild over the last three years. During that time, Armstrong traded several key long-term players like Jakob Chychrun, Christian Dvorak, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Darcy Kuemper to build up a wealth of draft capital.

In addition, Armstrong’s acquisitions of players on bloated contracts such as Andrew Ladd, Shayne Gostisbehere and Anton Stralman netted even more draft selections.

Arizona still has a handful of those picks in tow while also using plenty to restock its young talent from the ground up. Contributors on last year’s team include Barrett Hayton and Matias Maccelli while Logan Cooley and Dylan Guenther figure to play prominent roles next season as two of the best prospects in hockey.

Armstrong’s front office will also have more exciting youth on the way in the coming years.

While this process was unfolding off the ice, Armstrong in 2021 hired head coach Andre Tourigny to lead the group on it. Tourigny’s group improved last season from 57 points to 70, and that plus the growth of young players earned the head coach his own three-year contract extension.

Three-time All-Star Clayton Keller, in particular, posted a career-high 37 goals, 49 assists and 86 points.

Armstrong has often referred to his first three seasons as “Phase 1” of his plan, with “Phase 2” kicking off this offseason. That was reflected in the moves, as Arizona showed newfound aggression in making its roster better.

Matt Dumba, Alexander Kerfoot and Jason Zucker were veteran signings in free agency who will give the Coyotes far more of a backbone in terms of experience and talent, while the trade for 24-year-old defenseman Sean Durzi in exchange for a second-round pick showed Armstrong is willing to give up selections for players in the long-term picture.

Armstrong joined the Coyotes after acting as assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting for the St. Louis Blues from 2018-20.

“I am very grateful to Mr. Meruelo, Alex Meruelo Jr., and Xavier Gutierrez for all of their confidence, trust and continued support,” Armstrong said in a statement. “Being the General Manager of the Arizona Coyotes is an honor and a privilege and I am very proud of all the hard work that our hockey operations staff, coaching staff, and players have done to improve our organization. We still have a lot of work to do but I firmly believe that we are on the right track to becoming a playoff-caliber team for years to come. We have a very bright future here in Arizona.”

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