Many Arizona Coyotes fans are resigned to the fact their favorite team will spend a third consecutive April watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the couch. Seeing the Coyotes this low in the standings brings back memories of the mid-2000s, a time so long ago that songs like "Yeah" by Usher and "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter were popular. (Fun fact, if you reverse the order of the song titles it sounds like a conversation after a Coyotes game).
However, Hanukkah is wrapping up, Christmas is almost here, let's think of the positives -- let's think of the future. This week's edition of Monday Musings will do just that.
- It's that time of year again -- World Junior Championship time! (Woo!) Here are the Coyotes playing in the tournament: Max Domi (W - Canada). For the second year in a row, it appears just one Coyote will participate in the tournament (last year it was goaltender Marek Langhamer), unless Anton Karlsson makes Team Sweden.
- Domi has dominated the OHL (no surprise) in what will be his final season there before turning pro. The 19-year-old has 17 goals and 58 points in 27 games with the London Knights this season. It will be exciting to see how he performs on the big stage with a lot of other quality players around him and against him. Plus, he gets to practice playing with Connor McDavid for next season.
- Coyotes under contract or team control next season 26 years of age and under: Sam Gagner, Mikkel Boedker, Brandon McMillan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Michael Stone, Brandon Gormley, Mark Visentin and Philip Samuelsson. Age 22 and under: Tobias Rieder, Connor Murphy, Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson, Tyler Gaudet, Brendan Perlini, Lucas Lessio, Laurent Dauphin, Christian Dvorak (unsigned), etc.
- Keep the above in mind. The future is bright. A rebuild is happening, but the Coyotes should emerge on the other side with more potential for long-term success than ever.
- I still believe it is unlikely the Coyotes end up with a top-2 pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. However, that does not mean all is lost. Noah Hanifan, Lawson Crouse, Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner would be high-quality consolation prizes. More on that later this week.
- When a team is struggling, trade talk always heats up. In regards to Antoine Vermette, he was always the most likely to be moved. He's a pending UFA that holds significant trade value. Vermette will be 33 next season, which is a little old for a team 2-3 years away from postseason contention to be paying significant money. He is a really good player, but it's all about asset management at this point.
- Keith Yandle's name continues to swirl around. The Coyotes have always been willing to trade any player, aside from Shane Doan, for the right price. That is the case with Yandle. If a team blows them away, they will make a move. If not, they won't. There is no pressing need to trade No. 3 like there is with Vermette, both for age and contract reasons. I'd keep my eye on deals involving pending UFAs instead, while Don Maloney gauges the market for his top offensive defenseman.