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The Arizona Coyotes and the Preseason: so many questions, so little time

Lots of questions are still being asked this preseason. What will the narrative be? Too soon to tell, but some thoughts have come up over and over...

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We’re into the second set of cuts of camp for the Arizona Coyotes, and there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.

  • Who will be Martin Hanzal’s line mates?
  • Who will play with Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker?
  • Is sending Dylan Strome back to Erie the right choice?
  • Could Niklas Treutle change the landscape of the goalies in the AHL? (Someone has to play in Rapid City)?
  • How many rookies are making it out of camp?
  • Will the Kings ever stop hurting rookies during the rookie games?
  • What will the team face this season?
  • Why am I asking so many questions?

A Partner (or two) for Hanzal

If we go with the theme from camp, Max Domi will be one of the wingers for Hanzal. The other is up in the air. In LA it was Steve Downie, in camp groups it was Anthony Duclair. During the Red and White Scrimmage Hanzal played with Boekder and Rieder, which also seemed to be a good fit.

Boedker and Vermette's line could be the real challenge/change. Last season the top line ran (until injury and trade) Boedker - Vermette - Doan. This year it seems that Doan will be (or maybe should be) down on the third line with Brad Richardson. At the Red and White Scrimmage, as stated before, Domi and Duclair were with Vermette, and Doan has been with Richardson up until his injury.

What to Do With Dylan Strome

Strome is another sticking point. He’s a center. There are more centers on the team than anything. The forth line as it sits is basically 3 centers if it’s Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Joe Vitale. Having a horde of centers is great especially when you don't have a real 1C.

Strome needs to work on his skating, period. He's a good young center but like with Henrik Samuelsson there are issues with his skating. Don't worry, not the kind of issues that will keep him down for two or three years like Henrik. I think the team sends him back to Erie, and has Steve Sullivan to keep an eye on his development, like they did with Domi.

He should be NHL ready in a year or so. Let him go wreck the OHL with Alex DeBrincat. It's the best thing they can do for him. Throwing young players right into the lineup a la Kyle Turris, Viktor Tikhonov and Peter Mueller, has hurt the Coyotes before .

Turris was supposed to be the 1C of the future. Now he's Ottawa's, but I think the Coyotes are better for it.

Do the Treutle Dance

I'll be quick on Niklas Treutle. He's a very good goalie. He should be in the AHL at least. But someone has to go to Rapid City, who have signed a goalie of their own already.

He is a solid positional goalie and tracks the puck well. The Coyotes signed him when Domingue decided he wanted to go play in Europe. But the Prodigal Goalie returned and now they are overrun.

My Time to Shine

I think, logically, I want to say that two to three rookies are making the roster. Some of the fans I spoke to tonight think it will be three or four.

Max Domi is really good at hockey. He’s ready for the NHL. Anthony Duclair is also good at hockey and he has played in the NHL. They are going to be a pair that the team keeps together. Watching them at the scrimmage, you can see the start of something special with both of them.

The third rookie who could make it is Brendan Perlini. He’s strong on the puck and is having a very good camp. Christian Dvorak is also another option, he’s looked stronger but a few aspects of his game still need to be tweaked. I still think he was a steal last draft.

I’ll say it again, I don’t think Strome will be kept with the team or should be kept with the team this season. Let him develop.

Kings of Injuries

Speaking of Perlini, the Coyotes yet again, lost a first round pick to injury in an LA Kings rookie scrimmage. Kurtis MacDermid, who concussed Max Domi during the Erie Otters/London Knights series during the Memorial Cup, also injured Nick Merkley to what was described as a collarbone injury during the first scrimmage. He elbowed Laurent Dauphin in the head during the second game of that set of games as well.

I get that rookie scrimmages are good but wow, maybe stop having it against the LA Kings organization. Non-broken prospects are good.

Final Thoughts

What will the team face this year?

Well, it can’t get any worse than last year… so...

Why am I asking all the questions?

Because everyone is thinking about it, it’s time to strap in. It’s going to be one heck of a ride this season.