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Can Coyotes’ André Tourigny be Coach of the Year?

© Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the NHL season only started a weekend ago, the Arizona Coyotes look to be coming out of a rebuild and be more competitive this season.

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Since the 2012 Western Conference Finals, the Coyotes have only made the playoffs once since.

As stars come and go, consistency has been an issue for Arizona.

Add on top of the fact, in recent years, the ‘Yotes have been trying to rebuild and possess as many draft picks as possible.

Either trading key assets or picking up contracts of players that will never suit up in a Kachina uniform and are most likely done in the NHL have been a common theme for Arizona.

The arena situation is its own deal, but the on-ice performance trumps all.

However, this season, the roster additions made by general manager Bill Armstrong have made the ‘Yotes look, on paper, as a team that can emerge into a dark horse in the NHL.

Keep in mind, Arizona has started 1-2, but when playing three playoff teams from last year to start the season, it will be challenging.

But, when watching the tempo against the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Islanders, there is a lot to like from what has transpired.

The goal scoring hasn’t necessarily been there, but the defensive work ethic has been a huge sticking point so far.

The team follows the system, the system created by Coyotes head coach André Tourigny.

Here is how Tourigny’s tenure with the ‘Yotes has gone to this point and is there a case that he can be a strong candidate for the Jack Adams Award or, NHL Coach of the Year:

Tenure

After spending time coaching in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s, the Coyotes named Tourigny their head coach in the summer of 2021.

In his first season during the 2021-22 campaign, Arizona finished 25-50-7 with 57 points and second-to-last in the league in 31st place.

Last year, the Coyotes improved to 28-40-14 with 70 points.

Even though Arizona won only 7 away games, “Mullet Magic” was a real thing as they won 21 in Tempe.

Then, the trade deadline happened and the Coyotes looked like there roster was even more depleted than it was, but they continued to pick up points against teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers.

What was telling about a culture change was that even with the arena situation causing questions to be asked, Armstrong brought players like Sean Durzi, Matt Dumba, Jason Zucker, etc.

Additionally, rookie Logan Cooley decided to take the next step by announcing he would play for the Coyotes this season.

With the arsenal that Tourigny has within his grasp, the Coyotes look, on paper, like they should be competing for a wildcard spot in April.

Probably the most telling reason why Tourigny has embodied his own style and culture with Arizona’s locker room is because of the praise the players give him while trusting what he says.

In the offseason, center Nick Bjugstad came back to Tempe after being traded to the Oilers last season partly because of Tourigny.

Other players on the team have high praise for the head coach, so it seems Tourigny is doing something right.

Chance for Coach of the Year?

As said before, the Coyotes first three games of the season are against teams that made it to the postseason and they only lost two by one goal.

There will be games this season like last where Arizona pulls-off upsets against top teams or at least squeak out a point in overtime or shootouts.

Currently, when look in at the odds of who can win the Jack Adams Award, Tourigny’s name is on the list.

Coach DraftKings FanDuel BetMGM Caesars bet365
Rod Brind’Amour +700 +1000 +600 +750 +750
Lindy Ruff +900 +1500 +800 +1000 +650
D.J. Smith +1200 +2500 +1700 +1200 +1400
Rick Tocchet +1200 +1700 +2600 +1100 +2200
Jared Bednar +1200 +1500 +1600 +1000 +750
Bruce Cassidy +1200 +2500 +1200 +1200 +1200
Sheldon Keefe +1500 +1500 +1600 +1500 +1400
Andre Tourigny +1500 +3000 +4000 +1200 +3300
Peter Laviolette +1500 +2500 +1800 +1400 +1400
Todd McLellan +1500 +1700 +1400  +1800 +1400

*Sportsbook Review odds as of Oct. 18*

 

In 8th place, according to Sportsbook Review, a sports betting database, Tourigny’s has people in that industry believing that there is a legit chance he could win the Coach of the Year.

Even though the Coyotes aren’t one of the favorites to win the Central Division like Jared Bender and the Avalanche, if Arizona haves a , what would help Tourigny’s case even more is if the ‘Yotes make the playoffs since there are doubters out there that don’t believe the hype.

We are only three games into the Coyotes season, so it will take some time to see if the roster gels even more and can be a force in the NHL, but the future is bright with Tourigny at the helm.

Coyotes leave New York empty-handed after 1-0 loss to the Islanders.

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes, Cardinals and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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