The Arizona Coyotes have quietly been the best sports team in the valley this season. While that is not saying much, there recent winnings have put them into a position that every team strives for, the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With that being said, should this team continue to make it a priority to make the playoffs or begin to sell.
I know what you are saying right now, “How is this idiot going to tell me the Arizona Coyotes should tank when they are right in the playoff hunt.” Well, faithful FFH reader, I will answer your question with another question. What happens if this team falls flat? Injuries have plagued this team this season. This team should not be as close as they are to a playoff spot. Whenever you are looking at a high output (in this case wins), what happens when the inevitable regression hits? While we cannot really tell what kind of regression this team will have (if any), then how can we say that they need to tank?
Let me also state that tanking is not something I want to do. There is a difference between tanking and gaining assets to assist you in the near future. Let us use an example shall we! Let us say that Alex Goligoski gets traction from a playoff contending team and they make you an offer for a few draft picks and the salary cap relief that would come about from his departure. A rebuilding team would use those assets to get younger and less experience. A re-tooling team would use those picks to acquire a greater asset that can make a difference right away. NBA teams do this all of the time. A second round pick can get you a key piece like a role player. With the inability to sign huge marque free agents, the accumulation of assets could be given to a fully rebuilding team to acquire a player that is incredibly talented.
Another fact that backs the idea of liquidating some assets would be the argument of mediocrity being a hell-scape that you cannot escape (looking at you Detroit Pistons). Teams at the back of the draft have a winning culture and have a better chance of acquiring a free agent of a larger stature. Teams who are consistently at the top get young talent with enough potential to fill Gila River Arena on a weeknight. What do teams in the middle get? You hope and pray you find a gem that can be productive for you, but if you miss then you must make reactionary decisions.
This approach does have its downsides. This team is incredibly close to being in the playoffs. Most of this season has played their tails off, no question. IF you are able to make it in, could you imagine how helpful that would be to the organization? You could slay the dragon and take advantage of some other horrific valley sports teams 2018 seasons. This also leads to a buy in to the system. You not only show those who doubt you, but it shows players who are looking to maximize their talents with a system they feel comfortable in.
Look, this is in no way an article telling you to dread making the playoffs. It is however, a cautionary tale about biting off more than you can chew. We have seen Arizona sports teams try to win with mediocre talent and it usually does not end well.