The Coyotes were one of the worst scoring teams ever last year.
Considering how good their defense and goaltending were, it's almost crazy that they didn't make the playoffs.
This year, they are counting on Barrett Hayton and Phil Kessel to improve their goal totals, but mostly they are hoping that Clayton Keller rebounds and Nick Schmaltz continues to score at the near point-per-game pace he did before getting injured.
Something about this team is weird though:
Half of their probable top six are extremely one-dimensional players who score, but give back a lot of that scoring with shoddy defense.
Now, I definitely think that offense outweighs defense. I think the NHL as a whole underrates defense, and that the people who try to measure it then overrate it's importance.
I think that, generally speaking, we don't really have a good grasp of how to properly measure players who prevent goals.
On a very basic level, if a player outscores the other team when he's on the ice, he's going to be a very helpful player.
I do suspect - though I don't know - that goals are so rare that a player could be bad at defense and as long as he's scoring, it's still helpful.
As it stands, Kessel, Keller and Schmaltz do not tend to score more goals then they allow.
As much as I don't think plus/minus is a good stat, 1000 games is a pretty big sample and Kessel is like a minus 80 for his career. Hard to spin that positively unless I'm right and a goal is slightly more positive than a goal against is negative.
Either way, I do think it's concerning when half the team's top six forwards are essentially defensive black holes.
The other problem is matchups.
Keller-Schmaltz-Kessel is a line that is probably a sweet second line. But it's likely to get crushed matching up against any first line in the NHL.
Stepan is good defensively, but swap him for Schmaltz and you're not likely to do much better overall.
I have to say, the Coyotes are probably going to get screwed this year. I want to be optimistic, but they are missing a franchise player, and the fact that they are a defense first team with no offense makes it extremely weird that three of their best six forwards are so one dimensional.