When 2015 began, the Arizona Coyotes were in the middle of their worst season since moving to the desert. The Coyotes sat 13 points out of a playoff spot on January 1 and would end up missing the 2014-15 postseason by 41 points. Now, thanks to the arrival of highly anticipated young talent, Arizona closes out 2015 in the middle of a six-team battle for two Pacific Division playoff spots. Here is a look back at some of the best moments for the Coyotes in the past year.
While most of the excitement around the Coyotes has centered on the future, 2015 also saw the team recognize its past. Arizona held their first two Throwback Nights in 2015, wearing their black Kachina sweaters for the first time since 2003. Twelve years later, the old jerseys were good luck to the Coyotes as they won both contests in dramatic fashion. Arizona withstood a third-period rally from the Vancouver Canucks to win in the shootout on March 5 and then Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in the final minute of overtime to beat the Calgary Flames on November 27. The Coyotes will hold their third Throwback Night on February 20 against the St. Louis Blues and Arizona fans are hoping it will be the same result as the previous two retro nights.
Mikkel Boedker’s 2015 had some notable highs and lows. Boedker saw his 2014-15 season end abruptly when he ruptured his spleen in Winnipeg on January 18. After recovering during the offseason and signing a one-year deal to remain with the Coyotes, the big question was how Boedker would rebound after such a significant injury. So far, the Danish forward has put those worries to rest as his 11 goals and 22 points are among Arizona’s best scorers. Six of those 11 goals came at the expense of the Ottawa Senators as Boedker scored two hat tricks against the Senators, one on October 24 in Ottawa and another on November 28 in Glendale. Boedker became the first player in Coyotes history to score two hat tricks in one season against the same team and the first NHL player to do so since the 2011-12 campaign.
When 2015 began, Max Domi and Anthony Duclair were playing in different junior hockey leagues and part of different organizations. Domi was with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League as a Coyotes prospect, while Duclair was playing in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts after a brief stint with the New York Rangers. With Arizona building towards the future at the end of last season, they made a deal that brought Duclair to the Coyotes in exchange for Keith Yandle. Now that Domi and Ducalir are playing for the same team, they have been two of the league’s most exciting rookies to watch this year. Both Domi and Duclair have registered 10 goals through the first 30 games of this season, which is something no Coyote player was able to accomplish at this point last season.
Charles Woodall-Pike is a journalist who writes about the Arizona Coyotes for The Hockey Writers.