It may not be overly surprising that Arizona Coyotes are not an offensive powerhouse. Part of this is just makeup; the team isn’t comprised of a pile of goal-scorers.
But part of this is the accident of injury, with Alex Galchenyuk, Jakob Chychrun and Christian Dvorak out of action.
Three days ago, general manager John Chayka said that Galchenyuk could be back sooner rather than later. He’s on the road trip, which rolls into Winnipeg Saturday for a showdown with the Jets, and he’s been given the green light for contact practices. He’s been out since training camp, where he looked great but went down with a lower body injury.
Galchenyuk was acquired by the Coyotes in a trade that sent Max Domi to the Montreal Canadiens. This was roughly a year after the Habs signed him to a three-year deal and the plan was for the 24-year-old to have a fresh start of sorts. That has yet to pan out, but the Coyotes think he can score 30 goals if he gets back in the lineup soon.
Defenceman Chychrun isn’t exactly an offensive talent, but he did put up 20 points in his rookie season and Arizona likes his skating ability. The 20-year-old can quarterback a play up ice and makes that sweet first pass out of the zone, but he’s down with a knee injury.
That brings us to Dvorak, who was supposed to be working his way back from injury. He had surgery Friday after tearing a pectoral muscle during a rehab skate and that could be it for him for the season. That’s a big blow to the goal-starved Coyotes. He’s scored 30 goals in 156 games for Arizona.
Contrast that with the fact that Coyotes have only scored eight goals all season thus far. They had the lowest five-on-five shooting percentage plus save percentage in the league going into action on Friday, but they did score four against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday and that’s something to build on against the Jets.
The good news for the Coyotes is that they don’t take many penalties. They’re a responsible enough squad and that’s kept opposing power plays in the lurch.
But honestly, the Coyotes need goals. Goalie Antti Raanta has played well enough to keep his club in it, but the record speaks for itself and Vinnie Hinostroza is the leading scorer. The Dvorak situation may turn the team to free agency, where a few longshot pickups like Antoine Vermette might add a little necessary padding.