The Arizona Coyotes have brought in another experienced coach, signing Phil Housley to a multi-year contract to serve under head coach Rick Tocchet. Housley was most recently the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres but lost that job after another disappointing year. GM John Chayka released a statement about the hire:
Phil is a great addition to our coaching staff. His experience as a player, combined with his success overseeing defensive units, make him a perfect fit for this job. We’re all excited to work with him and leverage his knowledge of the game to make us better.
Despite his unsuccessful run with the Sabres, Housley is still regarded as an excellent defensive coach from his time with the Nashville Predators. That is the same role he will serve in Arizona, and there is certainly plenty of talent to work with. The Coyotes have a solid veteran group on the blue line including Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jason Demers, with a young talent emerging in Jakob Chychrun.
Arizona already allowed the sixth-fewest goals in the NHL last season, though a huge part of that was due to the exceptional goaltending they received. If Housley can improve the blue line even more—and perhaps even pass on a few tricks that got him to 1,232 career points from the back end—there is no reason to believe the Coyotes won’t compete for a spot in the playoffs in 2020.