I hope everyone is having a great summer and welcome to another installment of 30 in 30 with the Arizona Coyotes: August version. A solid argument could be made the Coyotes have the best group of prospects in the NHL, a crop especially deep at forward. Defense was their weakest position but that was improved upon this past draft as the team picked up some excellent pieces, mainly Jakob Chychrun and Cam Dineen and trading for Anthony DeAngelo along with acquiring Kyle Wood at the 2016 trade deadline. Goalie would seem to be their weak spot now but Adin Hill shows potential and Marek Langhamer put up good stats in the ECHL during his rookie pro season. Center would be the Coyotes deepest position with Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller three of the best prospects in the league. There is a good chance Dvorak plays LW for the Coyotes during 2016-17 since there is no doubt in my mind he makes the big club, but with Antoine Vermette recently getting bought out that could change. Here is a depth chart of the Coyotes prospects by position.
Adin Hill– With two excellent seasons in the WHL, the Coyotes are extremely high on Hill, placing the “goalie of the future” tag on him.
Christian Dvorak- There is some hype on Dvorak entering the 2016-17 season but I’m listing him in the risers anyway because I just think he’s that good. Such a super smart player there really isn’t any weakness’s in his game. I truly expect him to contend for the Calder Trophy this coming season.
Kyle Wood- A 6-5 right shooting defenseman with excellent offensive instincts don’t grow on tree’s so Wood is special in that regard. He’ll be in the AHL for the 2016-17 season but don’t be surprised to see him earn a call-up or two.
(Really I could have picked more risers but I just decided to keep it at just three)
Henrik Samuelsson- In the old “dead puck” era Samuelsson would probably be in the NHL by now. But in today’s NHL that’s all about speed, speed and more speed, Samuelsson’s subpar skating is holding him back. Once considered one of the Coyotes best prospects, he is now in the third year of his entry-level contract and is quickly falling behind the other Yotes pups.
Anthony DeAngelo- When the Coyotes acquired DeAngelo at the 2016 Draft it looked like he had a spot in Arizona patrolling the blueline for 2016-17 all but certain. Then the Coyotes went out and signed Luke Schenn and Jamie McBain all but guaranteeing DeAngelo spends another season in the AHL.
Nick Merkley- The 2015 first-round pick didn’t exactly tear it up in 2015-16 and in his defense he missed a large chunk of it with injuries (shoulder, ACL). But those injuries raise questions about whether his body is strong enough to play at the NHL level.
Brendan Perlini- With 45 points in 57 games last season, Perlini left many fans scratching their heads. The Coyotes say he improved the defensive side of his game in his final junior season, but if you saw him play last year Perlini was very inconsistent. Proceed with caution!
Top Ten Rankings
1.Dylan Strome-He didn’t have a great development camp but Strome has proved he’s too good for the OHL and is ready for the next step.
2.Christian Dvorak- I could probably write a novel on how good I think Dvorak is. I seriously debated ranking him over Strome.
3.Clayton Keller- Comparing his game to Patrick Kane, Keller put up some eye-popping stats last season. Should be fun to watch at BU and the World Juniors this coming season.
4.Anthony DeAngelo- Super skilled he needs to work on his play in his own zone and showing the Coyotes the maturity problems are in the past. Most likely spends 2016-17 in the AHL.
5.Jakob Chychrun- Had an awesome development camp, getting Coyotes fans excited about the future. Arizona is all of a sudden deep on defense so he spends at least one more season in the OHL.
6.Christian Fischer- A very strong 2015-16 season, he could push himself onto the Coyotes this year. The better bet though he spends another year in the OHL and plays for US at the World Juniors.
7.Brendan Perlini- At times he looks like the best player on the ice and others times Perlini looks like he would rather be at home watching The Bachelorette. That will keep him in the AHL for 2016-17.
8.Nick Merkley-Needs to put the injuries in the past and have a dominating season in the WHL this coming year.
9.Ryan MacInnis-He has improved every season since being drafted by the Coyotes but is still a raw prospect. It could take some time but the prize at the end of the road could be a good one.
10.Conor Garland- Not exactly the biggest player, Garland really racked up the points the last two seasons in the QMJHL. Watch how he adjusts to the next level playing in the AHL this season.
Thanks for reading, if you feel inclined check out my Pulitzer Prize winning 30 in 30 Coyotes from July. Also follow me on Twitter at @KDuggan92.