September 13, 2023, 12:19 am
Much like the Ducks, the Coyotes are technically still in the rebuilding phase but are supposed to be on the last stretch of it. Last season, they were one of the more fun teams to watch/bet on (over/unders, mostly). They’ve got a lot of young talent throughout the lineup that will be leaned on to carry this club to what I think could be in contention for a playoff spot. Hot take? Maybe.
Some bullet points:
– 2022-23 was a growth period for the entire team
– Clayton Keller is a star and his chemistry with Barrett Hayton and Nick Schmaltz created electric plays throughout the year.
The guys to watch are Matias Maccelli, Travis Boyd, Jack McBain and D Jusso Valimaki
– G Karel Vejmelka is certainly worthy of more attention
D Troy Stecher & Sean Durzi
FWs Jason Zucker, Alex Kerfoot, Nick Bjugstad
– Stecher doesn’t move the needle for me in fantasy – 14 pts, 88 SOG, 92 blocks
– Sean Durzi should be able to challenge for top pairing minutes in Arizona and even on the Power Play. He needs to prove himself as a good defender, but I think he’s got serious talent to be an eventual PP general. He’s got a good shot and started to block more shots in the latter half of the season. He had 38 points a year ago and while he should garner more time and opportunities, it’ll be surprising if he make a monumental jump. I lean on the conservative side and project 45-47 points.
– Jason Zucker played very well in Pitt last year, but this is a much different roster, obviously. He’ll garner 2nd-line minutes and probably sneak onto the PP. He was just below 200 shots for the year, but I can see him fitting in well with this group that desperately needs more shooters. I’d be wary about expecting him to put up similar numbers, given he won’t be playing with Sidney Crosby anymore. In 2022, he put up 48 points and although I project a slight step back, it won’t be a tumble – let’s give him 43-45 points.
– Alex Kerfoot/Nick Bjugstad don’t warrant much attention here, but Kerfoot should be able to hover around 35 points due to his willingness to crash the ‘mixer’ area. He’s one of those utility players who can be shuffled up and down a lineup which can mess with predicting point production, so we’ll go off his recent output.
– Arizona used the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft to bring in C Logan Cooley out of the University of Minnesota. Initially committed to playing at the collegiate level this year, Cooley will now be tasked with propelling Arizona back towards relevance and potentially, the playoffs. He had 60 points in his last season in Minnesota and is plenty talented to work in a top-six role. I project something around the 45-point range. I think he and Hayton could be a really intriguing tandem.