The Arizona Coyotes would like to forget last year.
The team finished with a 24-50 record and lost out in the Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel sweepstakes when the ping pong balls declared they would pick third in the NHL Draft. They want to put that behind them: the losses, the injuries, the frustration that swirled around 2014.
The healing process started Thursday.
The 2015 Coyotes reported to camp and held their media day. From general manager Don Maloney’s first statement, the message was clear: 2014 was 2014 and they aren’t looking back.
“It’s a new beginning for us. We want to put last year in the rearview window and never ever think about it again,” Maloney said.
Head coach Dave Tipped echoed his general manager’s sentiment with a simple, “It was a long summer.”
Part of looking ahead means focusing on the youth movement happening in Glendale with the likes of Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, and 2015 third-overall pick Dylan Strome among a plethora of prospects who have high expectations set upon them.
The young talent is a luxury, but part of those expectations fall on the veterans like Shane Doan to help guide the raw, up-and-coming players.
“You’ve got to have veteran players, but you’ve got to have good veteran players,” Tippett said.
(We have) a real solid group of veteran players who know what we are trying to do here.”
The Yotes roster has been tweaked and revitalized this offseason, bringing back recently-traded Antoine Vermette from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and getting a healthy Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker to start the year.
The team can also look to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who led the team in points last year, as the bridge between the established veterans and young guns on the roster. O.E.L. is the perfect example for that young talent to look to and see where they can be in just a few years.
“We think our mix is good,” Maloney said. “The team that finished the year last year is not anywhere close to what we have coming in this year.”
A lot of questions will be answered between now and when the puck drops in Los Angeles on October 9th, but the 2014 Coyotes are in the rearview window, so let’s never ever think about it again.