Arizona Coyotes GM Expecting Big Things in 2023-24

Are the Arizona Coyotes a Stanley Cup Playoff team in 2023-24? General manager (GM) Bill Armstrong seems to think so as the towering executive recently met up with the media and was very honest with his expectations for next season.

Armstrong feels the team is now ready to take a giant step forward in their development and finally make some noise next season. After many offseasons where the only goal was to recoup draft picks and rebuild the prospect depth in the organization, this summer was slightly different and had a different feel for the 'Yotes. No bad contracts taken on, and a new approach and commitment to winning hockey games.

It's been a tough two years in the desert in terms of watching our team with the rebuild in place and taking bad contracts. Now it's getting to the good stuff. Listen, we're going to have some challenges. We're going to have some moments we're not very good, but we've got an ability now to go into the ring from the first day of training camp. Now, we can take that next step. The next step for us is trying to play meaningful games the whole year and push to see how good we can become. Guys that we acquired through free agency, I said, 'Listen, I don't build rinks. I build organizations, and I build teams, and we're trying to build a championship team here in the desert, and here's what we can do for you to bring you in and make you a Coyote. This is the opportunity that's in front of you.' Players bought in

Arizona is heading down under to play preseason games in Melbourne Australia in September and Armstrong is excited for what it's going to do to the morale of his team:

I think that's going to be a huge bonding thing for us as an organization. We're going to be bonded before our first (regular-season) game takes place. I think coaches yearn to have their natural team together, and that gives an opportunity for our coach right away to work with our team right out of the get-go, so I think that's a big positive if we can fight off the jet lag and get our legs underneath us.

The Coyotes are paper thin on defense with Sean Durzi becoming the likely #1 defender. Up front is a little bit more balanced and the additions of Jason Zucker and Alex Kerfoot will help. It all comes down to Karel Vejmelka and how much he can carry the load and the team into playoff contention.

Photo credit:  Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports