EPSN released their comprehensive evaluation of the prospects in the system for each NHL team, and the future of the Arizona Coyotes is looking bright.
Before diving in, let’s define a prospect as any player who has played less than 25 games in an NHL season and/or less than 50 NHL games total. Goalies won’t be included on this list, they’ll get their own ranking.
So, what does the future hold in store for the Coyotes?
Clayton Keller, Center
The 19-year-old prospect from Chesterfield, MO is a left handed shot managed three assists in two games with the Coyotes in the 2016-17 season and was described as being “among the most dominant freshmen of the past 20 years”. He’s won the gold medal with Team USA at the World Juniors, and puts his hockey IQ and dynamic skill set on display whenever he steps on the ice. He scored 21 goals in 31 games played for Boston University last season, and is already a favorite for a Calder Trophy nod. Arizona fans should be really excited about this guy.
Dylan Strome, Center
Let’s not forget about this 6’3, 198-pound OHL star, who also looks ready to debut with the big club in Arizona this upcoming season. He has a powerful shot, a good eye for playmaking, and at this point is just to good to be playing in the OHL any longer. The 20-year-old managed 22 goals and 53 assists in 35 games with Erie in the OHL last season.
Christian Fischer, Center/Right Wing
Fisher is a 6’2, 214-pound forward who played 57 games with Tuscon in the AHL last season, where he scored 20 goals and 27 assists. He can play hard and in the dirty areas of the ice, and has a good defensive game for such a young player. While he’s still projected to start the season in AHL, there’s a ton of potential in Fischer’s game that could see him break into the NHL before long.
Kyle Wood, Defenseman
Wood was brought over to Arizona in the trade that saw Mikkel Boedker leave in 2016, and he’s become one of the AHL’s best defensive prospects. While he didn't crack ESPN's top 100 list, Wood looks like the full package blueliner with a huge shot, great playmaking, and a keen defensive awareness. It wouldn’t be a long shot to see this 21-year-old, 6’5, 209-pound Waterloo, Ontario native in the NHL this season.
What does this mean for 2017-18?
The Coyotes could easily see all three of these prospects playing significant time in the NHL. Keller and Strome in particular are already being talked about as Calder Trophy candidates, and top defensive prospect Kyle Wood could also be an injury call-up in should the need arise. Expect a lot of top notch young talent playing for Arizona this season.