The year 2020 is finally over. It had some ups and downs, and that was just the Arizona Coyotes' time in the postseason.
But time marches on and with training camp set to get started soon, it's time to look forward. And the Coyotes have lots of work to do.
1. Fix the power play.
The Coyotes' power play has struggled for a long time. Whether or not that is due to the players or the system the team uses is a subject of debate, although the answer is likely a bit of both.
So many times during the regular season and post-season, the team had an opportunity to come back from behind, or extend a lead, with a power play goal. But when it was really needed, the Coyotes' power play consistently failed. Sometimes it just made things difficult for the rest of the game, other times it cost them a win.
If the problem is personnel, they may get help from Barrett Hayton or Victor Söderström who will hopefully take bigger roles in the upcoming year. If the problem is the system, it may be time for the Coyotes to make a coaching change.
2. Return to the playoffs.
The upcoming season is going to be a weird one. Covid-19 has caused the formation of a temporary realignment, leaving the Coyotes in the new West Division. And while you occasionally see predictions that the Coyotes will finish at the bottom of the division, they aren't completely out of the running.
St. Louis, Colorado, and Vegas seem like locks for the top three spots of the new West. The Coyotes will likely be competing against the Minnesota Wild for the final spot. And while the Coyotes matched up terribly against the Wild last season, that doesn't mean they can't compete for that final spot.
No matter what, the goal for the upcoming season is returning to the playoffs. The team had a seven-season playoff drought, and that needs to be countered with a playoff streak.
3. Figure out what they want to do for the future.
The departure of General Manager John Chayka leaves a lot of questions. He was the man selling the future of the team, and people bought into that future.
Not long after Chayka left, the team was eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche in five games. During the final two games, the Coyotes gave up a total of fourteen goals and only scored two.
When General Manager Doug Armstrong was brought in, it seemed like the team was preparing for another rebuild. But the team hasn't taken steps to signify they are going to rebuild, and it may not even be necessary.
If the Coyotes are competitive during the upcoming season, if they make the playoffs, they may be able to retool without needing to rebuild. Most of their defensemen are set to become UFAs as is Antti Raanta and two of their recent signings Derick Brassard and Drake Caggiula. Marián Hossa's contract will also come off the books giving the team that much more space.