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NHL Prospect Report: Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes

From now until the start of next season, I’ll be looking at each NHL team’s prospect situation and assessing each prospect’s projected fantasy value. With all due respect to turnover leagues, I will be focusing solely on keeper and dynasty leagues, because prospects have minimal value in re-draft leagues. Most fantasy leagues vary in structure, so for the purpose of this exercise, I will be referring to leagues that include a main roster and a prospect roster, each with their own respective draft.

This week we move up to the 28th placed Arizona Coyotes.

2016-17 Recap

After strong rookie seasons from forwards Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, expectations were heightened in the desert. Adding Clayton Keller and Jacob Chychrun in the 2016 Entry Draft only fueled aspirations further. That couldn’t have been more wrong, as the Dogs had fewer wins, scored fewer goals, and had a -63 goal differential. Domi missed 23 games with a broken hand suffered in a fight. The forward had 38 points in 59 games (nine goals only).

Similarly, Duclair regressed to the point that he was sent down to the AHL for a good chunk of the season. He scored five goals and 15 points in 58 games. Arizona had only one player score more than 20 goals. Radim Vrbata is now in Florida after signing a deal with the Panthers. Additionally, no other player scored more than Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s 39 total points. The next closest forward was Domi at 38. Last season was a wreck for Arizona. At least for Coyotes fans, this team is loaded with high-end prospects that should step in and up.

1. Clayton Keller, C

Age: 18  H/W: 5’10″/168 pounds.

Drafted: Round 1, Pick 7 in 2016 by Arizona

2016-17 Team: Boston University, Arizona Coyotes

31 GP, 21 G, 24 A, 45 Pts, +15, 26 PIM

Keller had a phenomenal season for Boston University and then turned professional after. He had a brief cup of coffee playing three games for Arizona. The center had two assists and showed a flare for passing and sticking to plays. There were a couple concerns but understand the small sample size. He is a young Coyotes forward that many have a ton of hope for. Keller shined in May’s World Championship with seven points in eight games. Arizona has considerable center depth in their prospect ranks.

He may start off as the second or third line center for the Coyotes. It all depends on Christian Dvorak, who enjoyed a solid first season for Arizona.

2. Dylan Strome, C

Age: 20  H/W: 6’3″/198 pounds.

Drafted: Round 1, Pick 3 in 2015 by Arizona

2016-17 Team: Erie Otters

35 GP, 22 G, 53 A, 75 Pts, +36, 18 PIM, 27 PPP, 143 SOG, 59.7% FOW

Strome enjoyed a shortened campaign due to injury for Erie but produced amazing numbers. Overall, the forward had 354 points in 219 games for the Otters. Yes, there was disappointment in the fact that Erie lost the Memorial Cup. On the other hand, the forward has not been able to crack the Arizona Coyotes roster in his first two training camps. What has to be different now?

The most vital key will be for Strome to continue to work on that upper body strength. His lower body is extremely strong. Few can dispute that. Now the increased weight training will lead to some adjustments, especially in training camp. How Strome adapts will be vital as to whether or not he cracks the Coyotes roster.

3. Jakob Chychrun, D

Age: 19  H/W: 6’3″/201 pounds.

Drafted: Round 1, Pick 16 in 2016 by Arizona

2016-17 Team: Arizona Coyotes

68 GP, 7 G, 13 A, 20 Pts, -14, 47 PIM, 2 PPP, 86 SOG, 109 Hits, 99 Blocks

Chychrun had some growing pains in his first full campaign for the Coyotes. He did have 20 points and his possession metrics were average. That is an accomplishment given how little ice time (he played fewer than 17 minutes per night. The Arizona defenseman was sheltered a tiny bit (47.5% offensive zone starts), but that number decreased as the season went on.

As he fills out a bit more body-wise, Chychrun should see an increase in ice time this year. That could be a bump to around 20 minutes a game. The defenseman is likely to see more power play time, too, which should increase his fantasy bottom line. Shots, hits, blocks, and points are projected to improve.

4. Christian Dvorak, C

Age: 21   H/W: 6’0″/187 pounds.

Drafted: Round 2, Pick 58 in 2014 by Arizona

2016-17 Team: Arizona Coyotes

78 GP, 15 G, 18 A, 33 Pts, +7, 22 PIM, 5 PPP, 88 SOG, 72 Hits, 56 Blocks

Dvorak was little thought of as he broke camp with Arizona but quickly became a go-to player in the deepest formats. He had only 33 points in 78 games but did just enough to get the attention of people. His speed was noticeable from his first shift. There was also an ability to create offense, especially at even strength. His ice time increased dramatically during the second half of the season. The Coyotes center closed out the year with five points in his final six games.

There were concerns, however. His defensive numbers suffered a bit as the talent bottomed out in Arizona. Some metrics fell below average relative to the team numbers. Also, Dvorak must hit the net more as too many chances were missed. The team’s on ice save percentage and shooting percentage (even strength) elevated when he was on the ice. Considering Arizona’s woes with shooting percentage, that should mean a top six role for Dvorak to start this October. That may be on the wing. Stay tuned.

5. Christian Fischer, RW

Age: 20  H/W: 6’2″/212 pounds.

Drafted: Round 2, Pick 32 in 2015 by Arizona

2016-17 Team: Tucson Roadrunners

57 GP, 20 G, 27 A, 47 Pts, -17, 28 PIM, 15 PPP, 139 SOG

Fischer is one of those players who has a knack for finding the scoring zones on the ice. He had three goals in seven games with the Coyotes. This may mean he has a chance to break camp with the Coyotes in October. The winger performed well in Tucson and even showed flashes of a two-way game. Arizona sorely needs that considering how many shots and scoring chances they allowed last year. Fischer may start in the bottom six but could also get some power play time due to his size.

It will be intriguing to see where the forward ends up. Can he make that next step to be an everyday NHL player? That is what will be found out in camp. The potential is there.


Prospect Grade: A-

Arizona’s prospect situation is solid, as the Coyotes now have top prospects at every position. On top of that, the Coyotes keep adding more top prospects. If GM John Chayka continues the plan, the Coyotes will start improving. Chayka hired Rick Tocchet from Pittsburgh and will need a good coaching staff to develop these prospects. That had been what was lacking the past several seasons.

That does it for this week’s prospect report, but be sure to come back next week when we look at the New Jersey Devils. As always, feedback is always appreciated, and I’d love to hear what changes you would all make to this list. Leave my your thoughts in the comment section! Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice!


All statistics taken from:

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