The Arizona Coyotes return to the ice for the first time in five months Thursday, facing long odds at making the NHL postseason for the second time in three years.
The Coyotes finished last year’s abbreviated NHL regular season with a 24-26-6 record and 56 points, so NHL betting odds won't be in their favor.
The Coyotes kick off the 2021-22 campaign against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 4 p.m. Arizona time Thursday, with ESPN+ and Bally Sports Arizona carrying the contest.
It’ll be the team's first season since sports betting in Arizona launched Sept. 9. Sportsbooks are off to a successful start, led by the state’s heavy interest in Arizona NFL betting sites.
Arizona's home opener is Oct. 18 when the St. Louis Blues come to Gila River Arena to play a 7 p.m. contest in Glendale.
Long Odds for Coyotes
A handful of sportsbook operators give the Coyotes extremely long odds at making the 2022 NHL Playoffs, not to mention winning the Western Conference and Stanley Cup championships.
Industry stalwart BetMGM Arizona gives the Coyotes +15000 odds at winning the Stanley Cup as of Monday afternoon, to go with +6600 odds of winning the Western Conference crown and +15000 odds of winning the Central Division in 2022.
The expectations are similarly dire at Caesars Sportsbook, which also gives the Coyotes +15000 odds at winning the Stanley Cup in 2022. The emperor also gives Arizona +15000 odds of winning the Central Division, +8000 odds of winning the Western Conference crown, +1300 odds of making the NHL Playoffs, and an over/under of 68.5 points in 2022.
At DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona the Coyotes are tied for the worst odds of winning the Stanley Cup (+20000), while also ranking last in odds to capture the President’s Trophy (+100000), and the Central Division (+30000). FanDuel has the Coyotes points over/under at 67.5, with +1700 odds on the team making the 2022 NHL Playoffs.
FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona gives Arizona +10000 odds of winning the Stanley Cup, to go with +25000 odds of winning the 2022 President’s Trophy. The Coyotes also have +2500 odds of notching 100 points this season, all of which rank in a tie for 31st in the 32-team league.
The outlook at TwinSpires Sportsbook isn’t much rosier for the Coyotes, with odds of +25000 to win the 2022 Stanley Cup, +12500 to win the Western Conference crown, +25000 to win the Central Division title and an over/under of 67.5 points.
What’s New for the Coyotes on the ice?
For the first time since 2016, Rick Tocchet will not be behind the Coyotes’ bench as head coach. Former Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Andre Tourigny assumes the role.
Tourigny was a head coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League between 2002 and 2020, winning the coach of the year award four times in those three leagues.
He’s tasked with guiding the Coyotes forward, a year after the franchise finished fifth in the NHL’s makeshift Western Division, behind Colorado, Las Vegas, Minnesota, and St. Louis.
Tourigny will lean on veteran forward Phil Kessel, who led all Coyotes players with 20 goals and 43 points in 2021, to propel Arizona toward a surprise NHL playoff appearance.
Another returnee to keep an eye on is fourth-year defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who finished 2020 with 18 goals and 23 assists, anchoring the Coyotes blue line.
The two will try to replace the production of forward Conor Garland, who left the desert via a trade to the Vancouver Canucks in the offseason.
Garland, who came up through the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate in Tucson, finished 2020 with 12 goals and 27 assists, anchoring the team’s first line. He was third on the team with 39 points.
What’s New off the ice for Arizona?
The continuing drama around the team’s arena situation grabbed headlines during the offseason, with a proposed arena near Tempe Town Lake coming closer to fruition, according to a report from The Arizona Republic.
The Tempe arena, which would be located on a current scrapyard near the intersection of Priest Road and Rio Salado Parkway, would cost $1.7 billion and seat 16,000.
The unnamed arena would be a key part of the larger Tempe Entertainment District, which would include hotels, retail, apartments, and a theater if it comes to fruition.
The theoretical facility, which is still in the negotiation stage, came about after the city of Glendale announced it would not renew its lease with the club in August — leaving the team’s home in the coming years in the air.
The Coyotes will have the chance to play its home games at Gila River Arena in 2021-22, with no certainty beyond then.
What does seem certain, at least in the eyes of oddsmakers, is the Coyotes will be near the bottom of the NHL standings in the season ahead.