The Arizona Coyotes finished their 2020-2021 season early, missing the playoffs by 9 points without ever making a very serious push within their division. Now, in the heart of the NHL off-season, only one event can ignite hope in a fanbase that the future might be different: The NHL Draft.
Let’s take a look at the moves the Arizona Coyotes made in this year’s draft and how it affects their odds and futures in the upcoming NHL season. As a bonus, we’ll also take a look at their game 1 lines, which is set to take place on Thursday, October 14th in Columbus.
Draft Moves and Additions
One of the highlights of the draft for the Arizona Coyotes was the second-round addition of forward Josh Doan at 37th overall. His father, Shane Doan, is of course the all-time leading scorer in Coyote’s franchise history, as well as a current team executive. Josh is a potent goal scorer, just like his father, and recorded 70 points last season on 31 goals and 39 assists in the USHL. Doan looks to add some offensive firepower to a Coyotes team that finished last year with a -23 goal differential and landed in the bottom 1/3rd of the league in overall goals scored.
Not to be overshadowed, the Coyotes first-round pick, Dylan Guenther, another forward, selected 9th overall, will pair well with Shane Doan for many years to come. If these two top prospects can grow together and complement each other, Arizona has much brighter days ahead of it on the offensive front.
The Coyotes waited until their 4th and 5th picks, numbers 60 and 107 overall, before choosing a defenseman. However, as any team presumably does, the front office emphasized how much value they see in every one of their picks, so the fact that they waited until late in round 2 to go the defensive route is likely a broader indication of the overall value available in the draft rather than an indication that the Coyotes are favoring one end of the ice too much over the other.
Opening Game Odds and Analysis
Unfortunately, odds for the opening game of the 2021 NHL season aren’t available yet for the Arizona Coyotes. Major sportsbooks, including FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, and Caesars, are only publishing opening game lines for the first 6 games being played on Tuesday, October 12, and Wednesday, October 13. The Coyotes open their season at Columbus on Thursday, October 14.
If last year was any indication, the Coyotes should roll easily to a win. Columbus was one of the worst teams in the entire NHL, finishing 28th overall with just 48 points. They also owned one of the league’s worst goal differentials, allowing 50 more goals than they were able to score. Look for a value pick here on the Coyotes if the odds are relatively close to even money.
Team Futures for 2021
Despite making some clear and tangible improvements in the 2021 NHL draft, the Coyotes appear to still be a few years away from any sort of deep or meaningful playoff run, at least according to the oddsmakers. Here is how the Coyotes are expected to fare this season, via DraftKings:
The Coyotes have the longest odds to win the Central Division at +30,000. The next closest team is the Nashville Predators at +6,000. This tells us oddsmakers see that the young Coyotes still have quite a bit of growing left to do.
The Coyotes also have the longest odds to win the Western Conference, tied with the Anaheim Ducks at +10,000. It’s puzzling to wonder why they are given so much less value here (or so much more value in the division, depending on how you look at it), so we recommend steering clear of these odds since there are so many more teams in the mix who could win the conference.
Finally, the Coyotes also have the longest odds to win the Stanley Cup, tied with the Ottowa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres, and Anaheim Ducks at +20,000.
Looking at all of these futures odds together paints a bleak picture for Arizona this year, but not all is lost. As a young team in a rebuilding phase, they may surprise some people by overperforming and earning a playoff spot and improving over last year’s mark. In any case, while betting on the Coyotes’ future is certainly risky, they are a fun, young, growing team that can provide plenty of value should they be able to start turning things around sooner than expected.