The Arizona Coyotes and the Arizona Diamondbacks play two very different sports, but they are traveling down the same path.
Both teams finished their previous season in disappointing fashions. The Diamondbacks finished dead last at 64-95 and the Coyotes finished second to last coming in at 24-50-8. The 2014-15 season for the Coyotes was their worst yet since moving to Arizona. Things weren’t much better for the Diamondbacks as they limped to the season finish line followed by personnel turnover and overpaid contracts on veterans passed their prime.
Needless to say, 2014 was a bad year for the two clubs.
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With the bad, comes the good, and fortunately for Arizona sports fans, both the Diamondbacks and Coyotes are trending in the right direction immediately after forgettable seasons, and they are doing it in similar fashion.
The term “homegrown talent” is front and foremost when speaking about the near future of these two teams. Both clubs are touting impressive prospect pools, and they are going to be utilized.
After each of the previous seasons for the teams, it was clearly obvious that both would be headed for a rebuild. Both teams are stocked with high-end prospects, the Coyotes are about to dip into that prospect pool as we head into the 2015-16 season and the Diamondbacks are about to wrap up their season with a majority of their prospects leading the way.
For the Diamondbacks, they are under .500, but there are plenty of positives to take away from the season, and all of them stem from their homegrown talent. The first season of a rebuild is meant for evaluating and growing their young talent at the major league level. The Diamondbacks prospects have responded well and are showing that they have high potential to be a contending team very soon. As this happened, many of the veteran presence has been slowly traded away to give the young guys room to fill their roles.
The Coyotes will look to do the same thing this season in hopes that it will be just as effective. They will feature a few more veterans in their roster this season, but they are here on short and fairly inexpensive deals with most contracts lasting a year.
Think of them as training wheels of sorts, the veterans will hold down the roster as the prospects such as Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Brendan Perlini, Henrik Samuelsson, Christian Dvorak, Dylan Strome and Laurent Dauphin mature and take over the team.
Just as Ender Inciarte, David Peralta, Nick Ahmed, Chirs Owings and Jake Lamb have done as they took over for the veterans Mark Trumbo, Aaron Hill and Cliff Pennington. It’s a cycle for both teams, and we are at the beginning for both.
Nowadays in sports, homegrown talent is the way to go. The players are young, their contracts are fairly cheap, and they under team control for a good amount of time.
Two teams that are great examples of how far growing their own talent can take an organization would be the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Blackhawks. The Cardinals are consistently at the top of MLB and have won several World Series titles by utilizing their prospects. It’s quite astounding what they have been able to accomplish with their organizational depth.
Prior to 2009, the Blackhawks were in bad shape both on and off the ice. They drafted well and even made the Western Conference finals within a year of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes’ rookie season. With three Stanley Cup championships since 2010, they continue to be an elite NHL team.
Being an Arizona sports fan is a tough life, fortunately, things are looking like they are turning around. It won’t change overnight, but if both Arizona teams can stay their respective courses, without jumping the gun, it shouldn’t be long before fans in the desert have teams on both the diamond, and the ice, contending year in and year out.