The team has been frustrating to watch much of the year, not unlike the Suns and Cardinals. All three had exceeded expectations the past few years. However, unlike the other two teams in the desert, the Coyotes were major buyers at the deadline last year and continued their "retooling" after the losses of Z and Lombo into the offseason, knowing that they were just a few pieces shy of something very special. The end result of these acquisitions on paper looked like a solid team with as much if not more firepower than the year before. They have shown glimpses of being a dominant team, and this is where the frustration begins. They have no consistency and many of the things that made them so successful last year have disappeared.
In contrast, the Suns started a "rebuilding" process that includes the strategy of "staying fun and competitive (term must be used loosely) while retooling the roster", that hasn't exactly panned out thus far. The team has lost to 3 of the 5 worst teams in the league (record wise) in its past 4 games, and has looked more like a team that has given up on the year than a team coming off an unexpected Western Conference Finals appearance the previous year. The loss of Amare Stoudemire has clearly impacted the team more than they could have ever imagined, which lead to the largest in-season trade thus far of the year. The new-look Suns have pretty much indicated that more changes are looming. The team has yet to gel, and new acquisitions typically take time to adjust to their new teams, as well as the teams adjusting to their new personnel. The Suns are currently out of the playoff hunt, but have time to turn it around, much like the Coyotes. Should they wait and let the new personnel develop chemistry just in time to blow it all up again at the deadline? Seems like they have no choice but to do so unless they suddenly turn into a dominant team, which seems unlikely.
The main issue at hand is when do the Coyotes start shopping for new personnel if the current group is not getting it done? Do you wait until its closer to the trade deadline, which could possibly be too late? If you start looking now, do you look desperate and get lower offers than you might at the deadline? It seems that changes are inevitable, but at the same time, everything seems to be fixable with the current group. The offensive struggles have seemed to disappear in some games and reappear in others, but giving up 4-6 goals in the last several games (excluding Dallas) is not acceptable for any team. Especially one that has had trouble finding the back of the net much of the year.
Its obviously not too late for this team to get it together, but clearly they are lacking something. Last year they held leads when they got them, they won shootouts for that important extra point, and they were stingy on D. Something has changed, and none of those things are occurring this year. Whether its simply a matter of Tip finding the right lineups (which seem to be constantly shuffled), or a few moves to insert some "fire" back into this team is yet to be known. But one thing is certain, change is brewing. I felt inserting Maclean into the lineup had more of an effect on the team than many of us realized. One goal, in his first game is impressive, however its not necessarily his production that impressed me. It was the the team as a collective whole. He seemed to gel immediately with Boedker and Turris, and the line created fits for every line they went up against. The rest of the lines looked competent and efficient as well. Obviously, the constant shuffling (due in part to injury) is not helping, but to me its not the forwards that are necessarily the problem. It would help if the guys that are expected to produce started (I'm looking at you Wolski), but what concerns me more than anything else is the defense.
I don't see any confidence in our defensive pairings and I think the loss of Z was much worse than meets the eye. I am not seeing the current pairing's chemistry that they all had last year, and which brought them to the playoffs and nearly their first playoff series victory. What if any changes do you see coming and do you think the Coyotes should start now? It seems unlikely Prucha will be back as a Coyote this year since he would most likely not pass re-entry waivers, so is he expendable along with some of the players that have fallen out of Tip's good graces?