What Happened to the Arizona Coyotes?

The Arizona Coyotes looked like a playoff team in January but were far out of the race two months later and eliminated this week. Rob Bartnichak of the Sports Quotient asks why:

Just two months ago, the Arizona Coyotes were everybody’s favorite underdog. They sat in second place in the Pacific Division with 48 points, and while they were certainly not the cream of the NHL crop, a certain SQ writer said “their division rivals might just be bad enough, or far away enough, to keep them” in a playoff spot.

Oh, how things have changed. … What happened?

As simple as it sounds, they just haven’t been playing very good hockey all season long, and now it’s finally catching up to them.

His analysis makes use of a relatively new hockey statistic called PDO, which is the sum of a team’s even strength shooting percentage and even strength save percentage. The Coyotes had the fifth-highest PDO in January at 1.015. It fell to 1.003 by March and is currently 0.997. That puts them at 19th out of 30 teams, a big drop in three months.