Picture a giant, bumpy hill. Now imagine you're standing on top of it, in a Radio Flyer wagon a la Calvin and Hobbes. It's going to be a jarring, uneven, downright terrifying ride to the bottom. But the longer you hold on to the wagon, the faster and more exhilarating it gets. When you finally level out, you're practically flying.
Congratulations, you've now visualized being an Arizona Coyotes fan for the next several years.
The current iteration of the Coyotes is brimming with potential. It is also severely lacking in experience. That combination tends to add up to a lot of losses.
The Coyotes' front office appears to be aware of this, as they opted to give Dylan Strome, Brendan Perlini, and Christian Dvorak all another year of major-junior. They signed John Scott and Steve Downie, both to "protect" the youngsters they do have and to make the locker room a little lighter to deal with.
Overall, the Coyotes didn't seem to get much better, certainly in comparison to the rest of the division. This will in all likelihood be a rough season to watch. Kids will make mistakes, be demoted, and replaced by other kids. Eventually, someone will stick.
It's a bumpy process, and it's certainly not a fun one. Losing is hard to watch, and even harder to play through. Hopefully we'll get to see some of that potential shine through at various points this year.
But the reason we tolerate the bumps and bruises is the chance to feel like we're flying. If the Coyotes develop their prospects correctly, they'll be a high-skill, high-speed team, right as the Cup windows for Western powerhouses like Chicago and Los Angeles start to close.
Hold on to your seats; it's going to be a heck of a ride.
- Why wouldn't Dylan Strome at least get a nine game tryout with the team? My guess is the principle concern with Strome is size and frame. Nine games in the NHL isn't going to bulk him up substantially.
- It seems to me that Strome won't have to wait long to get to the NHL; the fact that he stuck around this long shows that the team loves his skill. I suspect the 2016-17 season will be his debut year in the league.
- The only complicating factor with Strome coming next season is that Arizona will still have three centers - Antoine Vermette, Martin Hanzal, and Brad Richardson - under contract. They could demote Richardson to the fourth line and start Strome out on the third in that situation.
- It's also conceivable that one of those centers gets traded sometime this year. Vermette has an NMC, so he will probably stay put. Hanzal on the other hand...
- Hanzal is an underrated second line center, has tremendous size, and is under contract for a very reasonable $3.1 million through 2016-17. If Vermette yielded a defensive prospect and a first rounder, Hanzal seems like he should command more (should he stay healthy, of course).
- I don't think we've seen the last of Matthias Plachta, Lucas Lessio, or Henrik Samuelsson this year. Tobias Rieder earned his spot by excelling as an injury call-up; there's no reason one of those three couldn't do the same.
- We will have preview pieces all throughout this week leading up to the season opener on Friday. Be sure to check out our forwards preview if you haven't done so already.