The Arizona Coyotes scored 131 5v5 goals last year.
That was five less than the next worse team (Which was Anaheim).
The Toronto Maple Leafs scored an incredible 75 more 5v5 goals than the Coyotes did.
I don't know how to figure out the probabilities, but I'd like to see how many times in NHL history a team has gotten the goaltending the Coyotes did last year and missed the playofs. It's probably not many, and the reason it happened is that they were a pathetic offensive team.
To fix this they brought in Phil Kessel. But if I put aside my Phil Kessel fan club presidency long enough to look at this trade objectively, trading Galchenyuk for Kessel isn't a huge upgrade.
It will be if you get 90 point Kessel and Galchenyuk scores another 40, but the odds are that Galchenyuk was better than he showed last year, and Kessel will suffer some form of age related decline, even it it's only slight.
The addition of Carl Soderberg is a terrible move that hurts the team by wasting cap space on a player who shouldn't be seeing any form of top six minutes at this point in his career.
You know who doesn't repeat their career year when it happens at 33? Literally everyone.
The Coyotes could have gotten a league minimum player, got the same results, and saved money, time, assets and cap space.
They have not done enough to upgrade their scoring.
If you need proof, the Coyotes lead beat writer Craig Morgan suggest today in the Athletic that Lawson Crouse could play on the first line.
That is just an objectively bad decision, if it comes to that.
There is nothing in Lawson Crouse's game that says "play this guy on the first line."
There is a tendency for average teams to make themselves worse by trying to spread their scoring around, but I think it's pretty much 100% clear at this point that you should be stacking lines and playing your best players together.
This means that Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel should be playing together 100% of the time. Centre them with Stepan or Schmaltz, I don't care, but don't ever break them up.
You're not going to win in the NHL if you can't put together at least 1 very good line.
No other Coyotes roster decision is this important.
That is, other than trying to get two more wingers that are reasonably able to play on the second line.
Right now the second line line wingers (assuming they are smart and play Keller and Kessel together) could be Dvorak, Soderberg, rookie Barrett Hayton, Crouse or Grabner.
The Coyotes look like a team that is deep enough to hold themselves in games. But their lack of high-end players or prospects, and the fact that they've capped out without upgrading their scoring very much does not make me optimistic about their chances this season.
Think about it this way: Even if Keller and Kessel have career years, that first line isn't going to dominate against other first lines. For most of the league the Coyotes will be happy to break even with their top line on any given night.
That second line will lose to 30 other teams more than 50 percent of the time.
So it's add to this roster, or hope for a goaltending miracle.