In a season that has gone as few expected, Arizona feels they have the right man in place to lead the Coyotes from the desert to the oasis.
The Arizona Coyotes' season has not gone as planned.
After winning a division title and having their star center crowned league MVP, the Coyotes seemed primed to contend with a good mix of veterans and young players. However, things haven't gone to plan this season, on or off the ice.
The team is currently 9th in the West, within reach of a playoff spot, but at risk of missing, and without its first-round pick. Meanwhile, they've been searching for a new general manager to take over for a while now. Everything for the organization has been unstable.
Ownership hopes to have found the right man for the job, introducing Yann Schneider as the new GM, hoping to steady the ship for this season and the future.
Schneider was made available to the media to answer some questions.
How do you approach the rest of this season?
"The first thing I want to say is I'm not going to do anything rash here. This team is good. Hockey can be unpredictable, seasons don't always go according to plan, and I think an important part of my role is evaluating this team objectively and not overreacting to its performance so far.
"The playoffs are still very much within reach, and if you make it in with a good team anything can happen. I believe in this group. With that said, I also realize I still need some time to fully grasp what we have and don't have, and I intend to take the time needed to make sure I know what I'm dealing with. That will allow me to make the best decisions possible for the team."
If you want to take time to make sure you know what you have, does that mean we won't see any trades or important moves soon?
"I won't rule out making a trade, even a big one, but don't hold your breath. If I make a deal, I'll need to feel that I know all the moving parts well enough to be sure it's good for the team. I think rushing into things before knowing enough usually doesn't lead to good results.
"I'll listen on anyone, and look at any option that comes my way, with the idea that we want to win now and in the future."
There hasn't been any word out of the organization yet as to whether some of the pending free agents might get extensions. Can we expect any news on that soon?
"That's one of my top priorities coming in. The season is already advanced and there are a few important players we would like to keep around for the next few seasons.
"Notably we're going to start some conversations with Bryan Little's agent and see if he is interested in staying. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Sergei Bobrovsky a,nd Brandon Montour are all players we'd like to keep around, so we'll see if we can get some deals done in the next few weeks."
The Coyotes are coming off a convincing 4-1 win over the Jets. Captain Anze Kopitar was separated from Max Pacioretty for one of the first times this season and responded with 2 goals while centering Clayton Keller and Bryan Little. Pacioretty meanwhile played with Brayden Point and Lawson Crouse, who is getting an opportunity to prove he belongs on a scoring line with 2 top forwards.
Next up the Coyotes play another important game against Colorado, as they try to climb back into a playoff position.