The Arizona Coyotes were originally the Winnipeg Jets until the franchise was relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996. The Jets were a WHA team before joining the NHL along with the Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes) and Quebec Nordiques (now Colorado Avalanche). En route to Phoenix, the Jets brought along Keith Tkachuk, Oleg Tverdovsky, Shane Doan and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulan and managed to pick up Jeremy Roenick and Rich Tochett after losing star player Alexei Zhamnov to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Coyotes were able to qualify for the playoffs in 5 out of their first 6 seasons in Phoenix but never advanced past the first round. From 2003 to 2009 the Coyotes would fail to make a single playoff appearance, and despite their acquisition of retired hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky as head coach, the team continued to struggle. The team filed for bankruptcy at the start of the 2009-10 season and was consequently purchased by the NHL.
Many analysts considered 2009-10 season to be a lost cause due to the mounting uncertainty regarding the future of the Coyotes' franchise. To the surprise of everyone around the hockey world, the Coyotes were able to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs after an incredible second half of the season that brought them into contention with the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks for the 1st seed in the Western Conference Standings. The Coyotes have continued to maintain a strong presence in the Western Conference, barely missing the playoffs in the shortened 2012-13 season, and then again in 2013-14 by just two points.
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