4 Big Questions for the Arizona Coyotes in 2020-21

Phil Kessel #81 of the Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Phil Kessel #81 of the Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Darcy Kuemper (35)
Goaltender Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

1. Are the Arizona Coyotes a Playoff team?

It is time for our golden question – are the Arizona Coyotes good enough to make the postseason in 2020-21?

It is a multifaceted question that doesn’t have a simple answer and, as we’ve already explored, a full teardown of this roster may well still be on the cards.

After all, outgoing General Manager John Chayka didn’t exactly leave much behind for new GM Bill Armstrong, putting together a poorly constructed roster and also having draft picks stripped away by the league for violating the NHL’s Combine Testing Policy.

As a result, it wouldn’t be surprising if Armstrong decided to blow this roster up at the Trade Deadline and focus on building for the future, with Arizona’s farm system and assets cupboard in dire need of replenishing.

It would probably be the right decision too given that, personally, I’m not convinced that the Arizona Coyotes are good enough to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2020-21.

Phil Kessel was disappointing in his first year with the team and he will need a huge bounceback year, but there isn’t much help around him at all and, even if Kessel and the likes of Barrett Hayton and Christian Dvorak all had big seasons, I still don’t think that is enough to boost what was the 23rd ranked offense in 2019-20 (2.71).

Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the star of a blueline unit that ranked 4th in the NHL last year, allowing an average of 2.61 Goals Against Per Game, but a lot of that has to do with Darcy Kuemper who had a .928 Save Percentage and a 2.22 Goals Against Average, while Antti Raanta put together a 2.63 Goals Against Average and a .921 Save Percentage.

But the Coyotes will be stuck in the same Division as the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights, who are all locks for the postseason, while the likes of the Minnesota Wild and the San Jose Sharks both look more talented on paper than Arizona.

If both goaltenders can stay healthy for the duration of the 56-game season, Ekman-Larsson can stay focussed and Phil Kessel can engineer a bounce back year, then there is a way for the Arizona Coyotes to make the Playoffs in 2020-21.

dark. Next. Grading the Oliver Bjorkstrand deal

But that is a hell of a lot that has to go right and, if just one or two things go wrong, then it could lead to an ugly and long rebuild under new General Manager Bill Armstrong in the desert.

Keep an eye out on Puck Prose for more of our 2020-21 NHL Season Previews in the coming days!