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Coyotes monthly mailbag: You asked, I tried to answer

Craig Morgan Avatar
February 27, 2023

February is a simple month for the Coyotes. They only play 10 games in its 28 days. The easy schedule allows them time to practice, time to rest and heal — both mentally and physically — and time to connect with their fans, as they did in my hometown of Gilbert when they held an open practice at AZ Ice on Saturday.

Compare that to the gauntlet of 15 games in 26 days which they endured in January, or the 15 games in 27 days that they will play in March, and I could turn this entire lede into a diatribe about the NHL schedule makers.

Those of you who read my mailbags know, however, that I rarely stick to hockey in these mailbags ledes. I usually wander far afield, leading some of you to wonder about my mental state.

Well, wonder on, because I want to talk about February. The little month. The redheaded stepchild of the Gregorian calendar. Specifically, I want to talk about why we shortchange February on days and then give it one extra every four years to make it feel special, but not special enough to earn a place at the big-kids table.

I did a little research and discovered, not surprisingly, that February’s outcast treatment is somewhat arbitrary. Per Brittanica.com, “In  order to fully sync the original Roman calendar with the lunar year, the Roman king Numa Pompilius added January and February to the original 10 months.

“Numa wanted to avoid having even numbers in his calendar, as Roman superstition at the time held that even numbers were unlucky. He subtracted a day from each of the 30-day months to make them 29. The lunar year consists of 355 days (354.367 to be exact, but calling it 354 would have made the whole year unlucky!), which meant that he now had 56 days left to work with. In the end, at least one month out of the 12 needed to contain an even number of days.

“This is because of simple mathematical fact: the sum of any even amount (12 months) of odd numbers will always equal an even number—and he wanted the total to be odd. So Numa chose February, a month that would be host to Roman rituals honoring the dead, as the unlucky month to consist of 28 days.”

When Julius Caesar took power, he remade the calendar and aligned the length of the year with the sun so that each year would add up to 365 days. But for some reason, he still shortchanged February with 28 days.

I won’t get into how many of our traditions and holidays and religions are steeped in pagan ritual, superstition or arbitrary decisions, but there is little logic to honoring this silly tradition any more.

Here’s my proposal. Let’s alternate months of 30 and 31 days with the exception of December:

January: 30 days
February: 31 (welcome to the big leagues)
March: 30
April: 31
May: 30
June: 31
July: 30
August: 31
September: 30
October: 31
November: 30
December: 30

To make up for that extra quarter day (almost) that it takes the earth to orbit the sun per year (365 days, 5 hours, 59 minutes and 16 seconds to be exact), we’ll add a day to December every fourth year, making it the new leap-year month. I like this idea because it falls at the tail end of the year. It’s easy to manage. One extra day added at the end of the year to get our act together before the new year.

Sure, there are complications. What do we do with those extra 44 seconds of time that perfectly align the calendar with the earth’s orbit? I won’t go down that rabbit hole but you can right here.

As for all of the birthdays that will be forever lost on the 31st of January, March, May, July, August, October and sometimes December, you can just change your birthday to the following or previous day. I’ll even throw in a free pass from government agencies when they look at your birth certificate or passport. You’ll be granted special status and Dec. 31 babies can even lie about their age.

Seriously, get over it. It’s for the greater good. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, or the few. February has suffered long enough.

Let’s get to your questions.

From Discord (28)

Coyotes mailbag question

1. I like both, but I rank cupcakes at the top of the my American pastry list. An old friend of mine once bemoaned the perception that America didn’t have signatures pastries such as France or Italy. I corrected him.

We have brownies, cupcakes and donuts. In recent years, all three have experienced a gourmet makeover. My kids clued me into this trend in cupcakes when they started watching Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. I like the size of a cupcake when it comes to the gourmet pastry world. It falls right in line with a cannoli or an éclair.

2. President Xavier A. Gutierrez has discussed this on numerous occasions. The Coyotes need to build their fan base by expanding into other demographics such as the Latino community. The Coyotes’ current fan base is loyal and rabid, but it is still small relative to the other pro sports in town. To achieve growth, the organization needs to introduce the sport to other demographics and make it accessible, via equipment, education and facilities.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. I think 16,000 seats is the right size for this market and I have not heard of any plans to create flexibility for more seats. Beyond that, one of the many new trends is arena construction is creating a more intimate setting which also means incorporating group areas where people can gather away from the seats. The Coyotes intend to do this.

I’ll give you an example. Even in a city like Chicago, my birthplace, the United Center feels cavernous and impersonal. It does not have the atmosphere that the old Chicago Stadium had. I think arena builders have become more conscious of the line between creating enough seating and creating a memorable experience.

2. The investments in scouting and development are good and very important signs that the organization is investing in critical areas, but there are concerns on other fronts such as the unadorned team areas of the annex at Mullett Arena, and the far-from-ideal training facility at the Ice Den Scottsdale, both of which will shortchange players and the training staff for four full seasons.

Coyotes ownership will argue that those facilities are temporary so they don’t warrant further investment, but such decisions create a reputation for the organization around the league. Simply put: NHL players talk to each other and share their team experiences so the Coyotes have to be careful not to telegraph a message of miserliness. It could impact their attractiveness to free agents down the road.

Coyotes mailbag question

Leah chose “Leah’s I Am Beer Blonde Ale.”

Petey: During one of our shows, viewers offered multiple suggestions. I like this one from blatantlyasinine: “Petey’s Sigh-PA.”

Coyotes mailbag question

1. The Coyotes have an internal analytics team, headed by Matt Perri, who came from highly respected Sportlogiq.

2. Hockey has always been my first love (I played it through college). My preference was always to cover hockey, but I moved to Arizona before the Coyotes arrived and a lot of people here thought that the NHL would never come to Phoenix so I was just fine covering basketball or football if the opportunity never arose to cover hockey.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. Not any more. That was the benefit of taking on the Shea Weber contract. The Coyotes no longer have to worry about reaching the cap floor and they don’t have to worry about teams holding that need over them as leverage in any deals at the trade deadline or in the summer.

2. This is an easy and emphatic choice for me. Bruce Springsteen. I’m lukewarm on Tom Petty; only listen to a handful of songs (American Girl is a genuine anthem). Bruce is an American icon and he has influenced so many musicians/bands (Arcade Fire, The National, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Bon Iver, Foo Fighters, U2 and the like). Few artists have meant more to the American music scene.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. I think that social media has amplified the Chychrun drama to levels unseen before, but Keith Yandle was on the trade block a lot longer and he never even wanted to leave. Thanks to social media, we now get every detail of the ordeals.

2. I think you already saw my lineup of players who never played a game that I tweeted after the Shea Weber trade. As for guys who did play, I’ll give you a starting 6: Jeremy Roenick centering Keith Tkachuk and Shane Doan. Keith Yandle and Teppo Numminen on defense and in goal, Mike Smith circa 2012. Honorable mention: Radim Vrbata, Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. It’s a Meruelo thing. President Xavier A. Gutierrez has made it clear that the franchise will run lean during what is really a full organizational rebuild — on the ice and off of it. That means less cash to spend. The Coyotes will be a cap-floor team for the next few seasons.

2. You may know him, but in addition to producing our show, Shawn DePaz produces other shows, appears on the PHNX and Sun Devils shows, does most of PHNX’s graphics and probably does more things that I am forgetting. He’s a Swiss Army Knife.

Also, he adopted a cat from Heidi’s Village, which earns him even more points.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. Probably. The Coyotes need elite players to build a sustainable winner. You have to have those players to build sustainable contenders and win Cups. Bill Armstrong is not interested in building a playoff contender with lots of second-line forwards and second-pair defenseman. The Coyotes have blown this multiple times in the past. He is committed to doing it right, no matter how much suffering it requires in the short-term.

2. Ideally, the organization wants the team to emerge from its rebuild as the team moves into its new arena. That is a timeline that the ownership and management levels of the organization have stated publicly.

Coyotes mailbag question

They have held open practices in Chandler and they held development camp in Peoria, whose ice is notoriously bad. I am also told that very soon, the team will hold an open practice in Tempe. That makes sense, given the team’s budding relationship with the city.

As for Flagstaff and Tucson, I don’t think that is realistic, given the team’s condensed playing schedule. The players and coaches are already exhausted. It would not be fair to ask them to go all the way to Tucson or Flagstaff for a practice in the middle of the season. Maybe they could hold a portion of training camp in one of those cities to help grow the game, but they have already played exhibition games in Tucson so they are making efforts to showcase the team to the entire state.

Coyotes mailbag question

Hoo-boy, this is a toss-up. Here’s the thing. Each team had a guy who won them multiple Cups. Glen Sather is a legend in Edmonton and Dale Tallon built much of the core that won Chicago three Cups. Each franchise had some middling performances and each franchise had one disastrous tenure; Peter Chiarelli in Edmonton and Stan Bowman, who gets too much credit for the Cup-winning teams that he inherited in Chicago, and not enough blame for limiting that group’s ability to sustain through poor cap management.

Coyotes mailbag question

There is significant interest in Nick Bjugstad, Shayne Gostisbehere and more recently, Nick Schmaltz. I think any trade involving Schmaltz would have to start with a first-round pick. Maybe a package of players could also land the Coyotes a first-round pick. We’ll see.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. Initially, I thought that was a far-fetched idea. After asking around, I am more confident that it is a far-fetched idea.

2. The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan wrote a thorough piece on it. Here’s the link.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. Here’s what Tucson GM John Ferguson Jr. told me:

“We will attempt to optimally manage our active roster and available recalls to best accomplish development and competitive objectives at both levels.

“We believe that playing meaningful minutes in meaningful, crunch-time games is critically important to player development. That includes playoff games, of course, so that remains our goal.

“Winning and player development at the American League level are not mutually exclusive. One hastens the other. That said, NHL experience is also a necessity. We are committed to player development at both levels.”

2. I am knee-deep in so many series — Ted Lasso, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Andor, The Last of Us, Stranger Things among them —  that I haven’t had time to look for new ones that might be of interest. Any thoughts?

Coyotes mailbag question

1. He is paid his AHL salary when he is in the AHL; his NHL salary when he is in the NHL, playing or not.

2. I haven’t asked about Macklin Celebrini yet. I have too much on my plate. I will ask after this draft (or probably at this draft).

Coyotes mailbag question

1. Generally, no. There is no need need to move here because those players know that they are not playing so there is no opportunity or desire to be around the team. I have never seen Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland or Bryan Little here and I don’t expect to see Shea Weber. I saw Chris Pronger a couple times, but only because he still worked in the league.

2. I think a lot of it has to do with opportunity; often in a low-pressure setting, but the answer isn’t tied to one thing. A lot of times, they have identified a player who might be on the verge of a breakout, but the players deserve plenty of credit, as do the goalie coaches, whether it’s Benoit Allaire, Sean Burke or Corey Schwab.

Coyotes mailbag question

I don’t think they care as long as they are getting paid — which they are.

Coyotes questions from Twitter (57)

Coyotes mailbag question

Here’s what Chris told me: “Just drafted guys that could have their rights expire when they leave school: Harvard’s Henry Thrun, Michigan’s Erik Portillo, Northeastern’s Aidan McDonough, Minnesota’s Ryan Johnson, St. Cloud’s Dom Basse, ASU’s Robert Mastrosimone. Additionally, this may be one of the weakest undrafted UFA classes I’ve seen. A few very intriguing guys.”

Coyotes mailbag question

They do not have enough talent in their system to build a sustainable, winning franchise. Management knows this. The scouts know this. Knowledgeable prospect analysts know this. They need more prospects and they need elite players the likes of which the top of this draft provides.

Could there be hidden gems later in the first or even in the second round? There usually are, but the percentages say that you are far more likely to find those guys in the top handful of picks. In short, yes, I think drafting eighth would extend the rebuild while landing an elite player or two could shorten it.

Coyotes mailbag question

He already is garnering attention from AHL teams and ECHL teams, per ASU coach Greg Powers.

Coyotes mailbag question

Here’s an explanation.

First, Mayo did not have a future here. They loved the minutes he ate last season, but the truth is that his underlying numbers were not good. In fact, they were some of the worst in the league.

Waiving Conor Timmins had nothing to do with Mayo. I just don’t think they were that high on Timmins. He just signed a contract extension with Toronto for third-pair money. At times, he is in the Maple Leafs’ lineup. At times he is a healthy scratch. We’ll see if he ever becomes more than that.

More importantly, the Coyotes gained assurance that they will not have to fight to get to the salary cap floor during this rebuild while actually saving some money. Because of Shea Weber’s injury situation (he will not play again) and the amount the insurance covers, he will actually cost the Coyotes less in real dollars than Mayo.

Finally, teams can no longer use the Coyotes’ need to get to the cap floor as leverage in trade scenarios. It helps the Coyotes from a negotiating standpoint. To me, this deal makes a whole lot of business sense, given their current situation.

Matias Maccelli is the standout for me because I wasn’t sure if he was even ready for an NHL role. Instead, he is among the rookie points leaders. The other guys whom I would throw in the mix are center Nick Bjugstad, who was viewed around the league as nothing more than a depth forward, and defenseman Juuso Välimäki and goalie Connor Ingram. The latter two were waiver-wire pickups. Both have taken advantage of greater opportunity.

Hayton needs to keep producing. As much as coach André Tourigny defends the other parts of his game — and he’s right — a middle-six center has to produce a significant amount of points. Hayton has six goals and 14 points (24 games) since the new year. That’s a 48-point pace. That would work for a No. 3 center on a good team. If he can sustain or even improve this level of production, that would be a great development for the team.

Coyotes mailbag question

I asked him just for you. Tourigny said that he prefers the righty-lefty split on his pairs, but there is nuance to his view.

“Chemistry is first. System always come second,” he said. “First is hockey sense, read the play and second is your system.

“Nemo (Patrik Nemeth) and Mo (JJ Moser) play really good together. They’re two lefties. That’s the way it is. You won’t break [up] that because we want a righty with a lefty just because that’s what it says in the book.

“Ideally, you have a righty and a lefty on every pairing for rimmed pucks, for breakout situations, for faceoffs situations, neutral-zone regroup to accelerate your execution, you put the players in the best positions, but you need to do what’s best for the team.”

Coyotes mailbag question

Minnesota Golden Gophers coach Bob Motzko thinks that Cooley will be in consideration for a roster spot but it it is a bit early in the process to say for sure. Some of that will depend on what Cooley does after his freshman season.

Will he have a deep postseason run with the top-ranked Gophers? Will he play a handful of games late in the season for the Coyotes after the NCAA season ends? Will the Coyotes want to get him on a training program right away, rather than playing even more hockey? We’ll see.

Coyotes mailbag question

Ha! I don’t think that Norm Hall is looking for help.

Sorry, Michael, not that I know of. Just cards.

Coyotes mailbag question

Very much so. Coach André Tourigny was just praising him the other day for taking advantage of his opportunity and taking on a larger role when Shayne Gostisbehere and Jakob Chychrun were out of the lineup.  This is the type of offensive, with-the-puck game that Välimäki wanted the opportunity to play in Calgary, but never got. He has shown some promise and an intriguing skill set, but consistency will be the key.

Coyotes mailbag question

Pizza: Pequod’s (best pizza in the city; don’t let the marketing of other places fool you).

Italian: Gibson’s Italia (stunning views)

Others: Maple & Ash, Girl & the Goat, Soju BBQ, Leña Brava, The Billy Goat Tavern (for nostalgia). Honestly, there are so many more places. If you are in The Loop, you can find dozens of them.

Coyotes mailbag question

Definitely intrigued by Oppenheimer, 65, The Killer and the new MI movie. I am so bored of the tired, money-grubbing and lazily written superhero genre.

Coyotes mailbag question

I think a draft-day deal is a distinct possibility for this magnitude of trade with all of its complexity. I do think more teams could get involved (multiple sources told me there was a deal in place with Columbus at the 2022 draft), but as far as a greater return, I’m not sure.

What it might allow is for the Coyotes to know exactly what they are getting in the trade. For example, if a team offers the No. 10 overall pick, that may be enough to convince GM Bill Armstrong to drop his ask for a second, first-round pick because he knows he is getting a high pick.

Coyotes mailbag question

I just think that he likes the idea of a group of leaders more than a single leader. I think people worry too much about the C. It’s not that important. If you have an obvious choice like Shane Doan, sure, you can go that route and one guy may emerge here, but a collective of leaders probably carries more weight in a room.

Coyotes mailbag question

There definitely was some activity right after that show, but they are planning to roll out more. I will have a story within the next week or so.

Coyotes mailbag question

They are allowed quite a bit of contact, actually. The skating and development coaches get on the ice with them periodically, and there are frequent conversations and video sessions. At the same time, the Coyotes’ staff tries to steer clear of any coaching that might interfere with the goals of the teams for which those prospects are playing. Usually, the relationship with junior or college coaches works very well.

Coyotes mailbag question

I’m taking Saul Bookman (ex-military) and 236-pound Nick Ritchie. They would literally be my weapons. I would hide behind them.

Coyotes mailbag question

Maybe in retirement. Right now, I simply don’t have the time or the desire. The whole book thing actually doesn’t interest me that much, but I can tell you, I have plenty of stories with which to craft a book, thanks to the Coyotes.

Coyotes mailbag question

In the short term, it just means opportunity for other guys. I would expect to see Vladislav Kolyachonok up here at some point. They love what he is doing in Tucson. Söderström has been OK in stretches; struggled in others. I just haven’t seen the dynamic element of his game that he is going to need to display at his size. Maybe he’ll have the opportunity to show it off if Chychrun and Gostisbehere are gone.

Coyotes mailbag question

I’m not sure about worst GM ever but this is a tough matchup. Both inherited the core of Cup-winning teams (Chiarelli in Boston; Bowman in Chicago). I do give Bowman credit for finding pieces to fill in around the Hawks core to sustain it for a little while (Chiarelli only won once), but his cap management was not good.

Even so, Chiarelli was a disaster in Edmonton so here is my verdict.

Coyotes mailbag question

I don’t know if we are moving away from print but we are certainly witnessing an audience with a shorter attention span and less of an appetite for nuance.

I’m not saying that podcasts and video can’t achieve depth and nuance, but the written word is still the best format for gaining a deeper and more complex understanding of issues. If we are moving away from that, I do not think it is to sports fans’ or society’s benefit, and I would argue that much of the misinformation out there that masquerades as fact is a product of this movement. People have become lazy in their consumption of information. Some media outlets are taking advantage of that.

I still prefer writing over anything else. It’s more than reporting to me; it’s an art form. That’s why I went into print journalism instead of broadcast when many were pushing me to do the latter, but I think the various mediums can complement each other if handled correctly. Basic interviews, for instance, are often better presented on camera or on a podcast.

I just hope we don’t become an industry of sound bites, tweets, half-informed truth and clowning for the cameras and mics. We’ll all become a little dumber if that’s where the industry goes. Again, there is a balance and I like to have fun on our shows, but there is too much attempted humor that really isn’t that funny, and there is way too much opinion in sports journalism from people who don’t have enough legitimate information to form such opinions. If you aren’t around the teams or sources, quite simply, you don’t know.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. I have not seen it become more of an emphasis than normal. Points streaks are cyclical. The coaching staff will always prioritize the things that it thinks are most important to the bigger picture, along with some game-planning for opponents; 3-on-3 is a small part of that.

2. The January stretch of 15 games in 26 days with plenty of travel was exhausting for the players. March will be similar. When teams hit those sorts of stretches it means less practice time (they need time off to rest) and by consequence, less teaching/coaching. I also think that such stretches impact the quality of the games when players are tired and not working out bad habits in practice. I think the NHL needs to rethink its schedule. It doesn’t benefit anybody to have tired, injury-prone players playing a lesser brand of hockey.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. First off, I would not change the name. They nailed it. But if they were to change it would have to be something that screams Arizona.

Candidates: Scorpions, Javelinas, Gila Monsters, Rattlers (taken), or, of course, the nickname of the original hockey team here: The Roadrunners, which is at least being used in Tucson.

2. I often just eat just a late breakfast and dinner. Easy choice for me.

Coyotes mailbag question

I can’t say that I fully understand the second part your question but I do think that more teams that need cap hit without dollars spent are seeing the benefits of taking on a contract such as Shea Weber’s. The Chicago-Ottawa deal was different because the Blackhawks will have to pay a significant amount of cash for Nikita Zaitsev; the Coyotes won’t for Weber.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. It’s a good question and one that I would like to delve into during the offseason. Clearly, the revenue from Sahara Bets is woefully lagging against other pro Valley teams’ ventures into that market.

2. As I noted above, I will be diving more deeply into the Yes campaign in about a week or so.

Coyotes mailbag question

Much of it is based on live viewings by the scouting staff. Stats/analytics are just a part of the overall evaluation, but obviously if a kid is tearing it up at a certain level and outshining his peers, that matters in the overall evaluation.

Every scouting staff still relies primarily on live and video viewings/analysis by multiple scouts, discussion among the staff members, and then discussion with other relevant people in prospects’ lives.

1. I’m going with Shayne Gostisbehere because he played there for a good chunk of time and would understand the nuance of the cuisine, along with where to get the best offerings. I’ll bet former Coyotes coach/player Rick Tocchet also has some thoughts.

2. No, I expect them to continue to split time. André Tourigny and Corey Schwab like that arrangement.

Coyotes mailbag question

Impossible to answer. It all depends on the circumstances. What’s coming back in the trade? Who’s available with those picks? That’s too much of a hypothetical to answer at this point.

Coyotes mailbag question

They are actually tied to organizations. Per Lyndsey Fry, they own and operate the girls (Kachinas) hockey program of 16 teams including Tier 1, Tier 2 and recreational league. They also have various partnership agreements with every youth program and rink in the state. The Jr. Coyotes even use their logo.

Coyotes mailbag question

Stay tuned. I can promise you this: Due to the (undisclosed) location of this summer’s vacation, I will be 95-percent unplugged.

Coyotes mailbag question

I wish I had a crystal ball. I don’t. The vote is May 16. We’ll know soon.

I don’t know. I understand why the Coyotes would consider offers on Schamltz at age 27, but would they do the same with Crouse and Keller in a couple of years? Only time will tell.

I don’t know that it’s a given that they will pursue Matthews. Given the fact that signing here would require him to play two full seasons at Mullett Arena, I have a hard time believing that Auston Matthews will become a Coyote when he reaches free agency.

Coyotes mailbag question

1. I’m not sure how the 2024 NHL Draft is viewed. I haven’t seen enough analysis of it to have a good sense. I won’t start in on that until the 2023 draft is complete.

2. If the Coyotes choose to resign Ingram it could take the pressure off of Prosvetov and give him another year of development in Tucson. That said, I think the Coyotes are going to be looking for a little better competition for Prosvetov next season to try and push him to heights and a consistency level that he has not yet achieved. Ingram will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. So will Prosvetov.

Coyotes mailbag question

I’m sure there is a little bit of annoyance on the NHLPA’s part, but these are the league rules. If they want to change them, that is part of the collective bargaining process. Also, a bunch of these guys that they have acquired already signed their contracts so, in a sense, they earned that money and should not be resented for it.

It’s the system that allows teams to use those contracts in other ways that work to their advantage. I have heard some agents suggest that as a counter, each team should have one exception player who allows them to exceed the cap. This would make it easier for GMs to keep competitive teams together.

Coyotes mailbag question

I can’t go here, Geoffrey. I want to believe that karma exists. If Chicago lands Bedard I will vomit, and I grew up a Blackhawks fan. The punishment for the Blackhawks did not fit the crime. For me, those three Stanley Cups are forever tainted.

Coyotes mailbag question

It usually occurs early in the playoffs but the NHL has not released the date and will not until we get closer.

Coyotes mailbag question

It’s a very good question and the answer is no. Management is well aware of the need to keep stocking the prospect cupboards for the next couple of seasons. This column might provide you with some insight.

Coyotes mailbag question

A couple of reasons. What happens right after the faceoff is every bit as important as whether the center or faceoff man “wins” the draw to his side. Multiple other players are in motion off the draw and they can determine a change of possession in an instant.

Where and when the faceoff is won matters far more. A neutral zone faceoff doesn’t mean much. A faceoff won in the offensive zone with a 5-1 lead or a 5-1 deficit doesn’t mean much. A faceoff won when the possession changes one second later doesn’t mean much.

Important faceoff examples include defensive-zone draws in tight games or on special teams, and faceoffs late in tight games. I’d like to see a deeper dive on all of the statistics above.

Coyotes mailbag question

They will draft both, but they will almost always go with the best-player-available mentality, regardless of position. They need both, but the prospect system is notably lacking (at least at this point of the evaluation) in top-end defensemen.

Coyotes mailbag question

Not a chance, buddy. It’s in my contract, right next to the 41-degree San Pellegrino and the Nutter Butters.

Coyotes mailbag question

Because goals are valued more than assists and Maccelli only has four. I don’t think that Maccelli is even viewed as a Calder Trophy finalist among eligible voters.

I’m not saying that’s right, but if he wants to hop into that conversation, he probably needs to shoot a little more. He has 31 shots on goal in 41 games. That ranks ahead of only Zack Kassian and Liam O’Brien among regular players.

Coyotes mailbag question

I’m not in the room so I can’t say, but some of the more jovial interviews on the team are Christian Fischer, Troy Stecher, Nick Bjugstad and Connor Ingram.

I’ll go with Christian Fischer on the latter, based on recent intel and my desire to chirp him whenever possible because he’s a Chicago guy and such a good dude.

Coyotes mailbag question

Barrett Hayton has had the chance to play with top-end guys such as Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller. He earned it through solid play in other areas.

JJ Moser has take on more of a defensive role playing alongside Patrik Nemeth while Juuso Välimäki has earned more power play time and a more offensive role. I don’t necessarily agree that Moser has tailed off. His role has just changed a bit.

Coyotes mailbag question

In fact, they are creating more flexibility by not taking on salary and term. Taking back those sorts of players would hamstring their ability to make other deals because there is only so much cash to spend during what the organization has noted multiple times will be lean years of the rebuild.

If they are going to take on significant caps hit, the actual cash out has to be far less for the deals to work. That has been the way they have operated the past two seasons. The Andrew Ladd and Shayne Gostisbehere acquisitions are good examples.

Coyotes mailbag question

I think the conversation has to start with a first-round pick for a player who is producing at basically a point per game over the past two seasons and has three seasons of term left on his deal after this season at a reasonable cap hit of $5.85 million.

Mitigating factors: Schmaltz is 27, he has been injury prone and his salary escalates considerably over the next few seasons.

Coyotes mailbag question


Coyotes mailbag question

I don’t know the specifics, but I suspect it had to do with salary/players coming back. The Coyotes don’t want to retain salary and the Coyotes don’t want to take back big money or big term.

Top photo via Getty Images

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