Colorado Avalanche Situation
The Colorado Avalanche finished the 2015-16 season at 39-39-4, an effort that saw the team rack up a total of 82 points. The team had four players that scored twenty or more goals led by Matt Duchene who scored 30 goals and had 29 helpers for a combined 59 points. General Manager Joe Sakic went into the offseason searching for ways to shore up the roster with blue-line veterans to make the team more competitive in the Western Conference as well as a few low-risk, high-reward players. Sakic brought in players like Fedor Tyutin, a seasoned veteran from the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, Joe Colborne, a puck-moving forward from the Calgary Flames, and Patrick Wiercioch, a young and promising defenseman from the Ottawa Senators. Sakic also addressed the issue of signing pending unrestricted free agents defenseman Tyson Barrie to a six-year contract extension and Nathan MacKinnon to a seven-year contract extension. In the draft, the Avalanche selected talented prospect Tyson Jost, a player with skills comparable to Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.
However, prior to this season’s inception, head coach and vice president of hockey operations Patrick Roy resigned from his duties. Sakic went to work in searching for a new head coach for the franchise and found his replacement in Jared Bednar. Bednar’s resume includes work as an assistant for the ECHL’s Stingrays, Head coach of the ECHL Stingrays where he coached his team to the Kelly Cup (The ECHL Championship.) Bednar then went on to be an assistant coach with the AHL Springfield Falcons. Next he was the Head Coach for the AHL Lake Erie Monsters and he lead his team to the Calder Cup (The AHL Championship) last year.
Arizona Coyotes Situation
The Arizona Coyotes started last season off on a strong note but slowly cooled off after the All-Star Break. The Coyotes utilized players such as Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, two very agile and skillful athletes that demonstrated chemistry as members of Team Canada’s World Juniors Championship. In Domi’s rookie season, he was able to notch 18 goals and 34 helpers totaling to a sum of 52 points. Duclair, on the other hand was able to hit 20 goals and dish out 24 helpers totaling to a sum of 44 points. The two had a combined 96 points on the season.
At the season’s end, the Coyotes relieved longtime general manager Don Maloney of his duties. Maloney helped draft core members of the Coyotes deep pipeline of talent as well as acquire free agents to help provide a veteran presence in the desert. Some of Maloney’s draftees include: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Connor Murphy, Jordan Martinook, Max Domi, Laurent Dauphin, Brendan Perlini, Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer, and Dylan Strome. Maloney had also brought in veterans like Brad Richardson, Nicklas Grossmann, Steve Downie, Mike Ribeiro, and Sam Gagner, Adrian Auccoin, Ray Whitney, .
Maloney was replaced by twenty-seven-year-old analytics guru John Chayka, the founder of Stathletes. Chayka took ahold of the Coyotes roster and made some roster transactions. The first move that Chayka made was to trade a conditional draft pick to the Dallas Stars for veteran defenseman Alex Goligoski. Goligoski was a second-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2004 and later won a Stanley Cup in 2009 before going to the Stars. Goligoski has been known for his puck moving skills as well as his ability to play in his own zone and generate offense for the teams he has played with. Goligoski inked a five-year deal to join the Coyotes in June 2016. Following this move, Chayka went out and signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year deal, Jamie McGinn to a three-year deal, and Jamie McBain to a one-year deal. Chayka also re-signed key assets defenseman Connor Murphy to a six-year deal and forward Tobias Rieder to a two-year extension.
In the draft, Chayka was relatively busy as he selected Clayton Keller with the seventh overall pick. Keller has been compared with the likes of Patrick Kane with his quick puck movement and skill. Chayka also executed a few trades during the trade; most notably a trade that sent Pavel Datsyuk’s contract and the sixteenth overall selection to the Coyotes in exchange for a second round pick, a third round selection, and centerman Joe Vitale. The Coyotes hit paydirt in this trade when they took youngster Jakob Chychrun with the sixteenth selection. Another trade that Chayka executed was with the Florida Panthers in which the Coyotes shipped a third-round selection in exchange for Lawson Crouse and Dave Bolland. Chayka completed one final trade where he sent the Tampa Bay Lightning a second-round selection for Anthony DeAngelo. The Coyotes received high marks for their off season and draft selections.
Colorado Avalanche vs Arizona Coyotes head to head Matchup
in this seasons games the Coyotes and Avalanche have tied the series match up at 1 game a piece. The last game that they played was on November 8th in Denver. The final score was 4-2 for the Coyotes even though the Avalanche lead the game 2-1 half way through. Arizona went on the score 3 straight unanswered goals to finish off the Avalanche. The first game of the season against the two clubs ended up as a 3-2 win for the Colorado Avalanche.
Here is a link to the Game Notes as all ways you can find some very interesting stats and information on both teams here as well as the players who will be in the line up tonight for both teams.
Why Tune in tonight?
While both teams are looking like the rest of the season has put them in full evaluation mode with neither side able to get into the playoffs this season it should prove interesting to watch some of the young players trying to prove that they belong in the league and with their respective teams come next season.
Do you have any predictions for tonight game? If so please leave them in the comments below and we can see if anyone gets it right after the game!
Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports