At the time of this writing, the Arizona Coyotes are in third place in the Western Conference, trailing San Jose and Winnipeg only by goal differential.
Mother of all small sample sizes? Absolutely. Does that make it any less fun? Absolutely not.
What we've seen in the past couple of games are flashes of what makes optimism for the future possible. Mike Smith has conceded two goals in 120 minutes of play, while youngsters Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook, and Tobias Rieder all have at least one point.
The Coyotes were opportunistic in Los Angeles and took it to the Penguins in their home opener. Defensively Michael Stone is off to a decent start paired with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Klas Dahlbeck does not seem to be overmatched, and Nicklas Grossmann could prove to be the Adrian Aucoin replacement the Coyotes have been looking for over the past few years.
I won't make any predictions about the team being able to keep this up. There are a myriad of reasons to expect that this success won't continue.
But at least for the first two games of the season, the Coyotes are making it fun. And given how low the bar has been set this season, fun is pretty much all we could ask for.
- Arizona has an odd three-day break in the schedule before going to Anaheim Wednesday night. They then go back to Glendale to play Minnesota the next day. What is with these weird back-to-backs?
- On the other hand, those three days off may give Zbynek Michalek a chance to return without missing too much time, which is a plus.
- This week seems like a good time to get a look at Anders Lindback. Coach Tippett mentioned that he wanted his starter in net for both the season opener and the home opener. This time around, he may opt to give the backup a look on Wednesday or Thursday.
- Guess who's leading the OHL in points per game this season? Did you say Dylan Strome? You are correct.
- Strome has six assists in two games. His primary beneficiary is winger Alex DeBrincat, who has a staggering 10(!) goals in five games. DeBrincat is eligible for this year's Draft, by the way.
- Meanwhile, guess who's leading the QJMHL in points per game this year? Did you say Conor Garland? Man, you're really good at this.
- Garland has five goals and 14 assists in seven games so far with Moncton. Obviously he's undersized and obviously CHL success doesn't automatically translate to NHL success, but how did Garland fall so far?
- Lastly, congratulations to Arizona State on getting their first win against an NCAA Division I opponent this weekend with a victory over Alaska-Anchorage. And in a shameless tip of the hat to the editor's alma mater, congratulations to Desert Vista High School hockey players Jaxon Castor and Michael Boyle for committing to play for Arizona State and Denver, respectively.