For most teams, the day after the trade deadline results in a vastly different team with a vastly different cast of characters. Perhaps no team in the NHL will feel that more than the Arizona Coyotes.
Tonight's game against Anaheim marks the first game for the post-Yandle-Vermette-Michalek Coyotes, as the trio was shipped for a better Coyote future. That future is bright indeed, but it also means the immediate product takes a serious hit.
Matchup at a Glance
|Anaheim Ducks||Arizona Coyotes|
|Points||87 (1st Pacific)||47 (6th Pacific)|
|Goals per game||2.8 (11th)||2.1 (29th)|
|Goals against per game||2.7 (20th)||3.3 (29th)|
|Power play||17.3% (21st)||21.6% (5th)|
|Penalty kill||81.7% (15th)||77.4% (27th)|
|5v5 SAT%||50.5% (18th)||49.2% (22nd)|
|SpSV%||100.5 (12th)||96.6 (30th)|
View from Anaheim
One of the more active teams at the deadline, Anaheim's activity could best be described as "sanding the edges." They brought in some nice contributors such as defenseman James Wisniewski and winger Tomas Fleischmann while also sending away some of the driftwood such as Rene Bourque and Dany Heatley.
For a team at the top of the standings, Anaheim avoided being one of the straight-up buyers as exhibited by the Chicagos and New Yorks of the league. With his team still on top of the Pacific Division, General manager Bob Murray deserves all the accolades possible for such savvy in pursuit of a Stanley Cup.
View from Arizona
To put in perspective just how different post-deadline-Arizona is, keep in mind the following: three of their top five skaters in average-time-on-ice-per-game and their two leading scorers were dealt. And while Keith Yandle, Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek will all be remembered fondly for their service in Sedona Red, change was not only imminent for the Coyotes, it was necessary. So a team that has struggled to win games this season has had the odds stacked even more so against them.
At this point in the season, head coach Dave Tippett's mission becomes keeping the clubhouse morale high and finding out what pieces are keepers past 2015. Expect more ice time for Tobias Rieder, Louis Domingue, and the smorgasbord of newcomers from trade deadline action between now and the rest of the season.
Martin Erat was the Coyotes lone goal scorer in the previous flubbing at the hands of Boston. It was his fourth point in five games, and as one of the Coyotes remaining threats, Erat figures to have the pressure to produce increased. Another similar story is Sam Gagner, who scored twice last week against New York and is now by default Arizona's first line center.
For Anaheim, Corey Perry has four points in his last two games. Him alongside Ryan Getzlaf have continued to produce at a high level and will be key cogs if the Ducks are to make a legit title chase.
Anaheim will be without wingers Tim Jackman and Matt Beleskey as well as defensemen Sami Vatanen and Sheldon Souray. Newcomer James Wisniewski is also officially listed as questionable with a lower body injury.
For Arizona, the only injuries on file are the ones to Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker, both of whom are out for the season.
The game will be in Arizona's own Gila River Arena, with puck drop scheduled at 7:00 p.m. Arizona time. The game will be broadcast via the usual outlets Fox Sports Arizona and 98.7 FM.