It’s Phoenix Coyotes day on PHT


Welcome to our offseason initiative — 30 teams in 30 days.

From July 16 until Aug. 14, we’ll be dedicating each day to a new team by recapping the offseason and looking ahead to 2012-13.

There will also be a series of posts looking at key stories, player profiles and burning questions regarding each squad.

Today, we continue with the Phoenix Coyotes.

On the bright side, the 2011-12 season was a campaign of firsts. The franchise won its first Pacific Division title, made its way to its first-ever Western Conference final and generally had its best year ever. The Coyotes also enjoyed a surprising, near-Vezina-level season from Mike Smith, whose signing was dismissed in many corners.

The bad news is that for all that on-ice progress, off-the-ice matters remain gloomy. The Coyotes are scheduled to enter their fourth consecutive season without a true owner, with relocation talks a regular occurrence.

They’ve also encountered tough changes on their roster. Top-line winger Ray Whitney left for Dallas and the Shane Doan saga looks like it’ll drag on deep into the summer. They’ve also lost depth players such as Taylor Pyatt and Adrian Aucoin while adding Zbynek Michalek and Steve Sullivan.

Can the Coyotes keep defying expectations or will they finally fall flat on their faces next season? Stick around PHT today for more on that subject.