Hey guys, Sven again with my second article for 31 teams in 31 days – The Arizona Coyotes. Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season.
Derek Stepan – 82GP 14-42-56. Stepan got off to a slow start in his first season as a Desert Dog, however he was able to put together a historically sound campaign, notching one point less than his previous career high. Expect this #1C to be taken late in mid-sized leagues, however he is a safe pick. Expect around 55 points and a healthy amount of power play time in the face-off circle.
Clayton Keller – 82GP 23-42-65. Keller’s electrifying rookie campaign was one of the few high points of Arizona’s 2017-18 campaign. If he continues to be a #1LW #1PP guy, I would be shocked if he doesn’t repeat with a 50-60-point campaign. Always be aware of the Sophomore Slump though!
Alex Galchenyuk – 82GP 19-32-51. I believe a change of scenery and pressure will only benefit the former third overall pick. DailyFaceoff has him slated at #2C, #1PP, so expect a nice cool 50 points from Galchenyuk once again. He is worth a look in deeper leagues given he will provide PPP.
Christian Dvorak – 78GP 15-22-37. After two seasons averaging 35 points, I believe Dvorak is ready for a breakout year. He has showed the ability to score at a freakish pace in major junior (244 points in 158GP with London), and perhaps he has found his groove. If Zona decides to try Dylan Strome at C and flip Dvorak to the wing, he will receive lots of play time. I wouldn’t draft him, but I’d keep my eye out for him once the season begins.
Christian Fischer – 79GP 15-18-33. Fischer had a solid rookie campaign with the Yotes, tallying 33 points. Again regarding the Sophomore Slump, I believe Fischer will be hit much harder than Keller. Keep your eye out if he gets hot mid-season, he will receive some PP time and second line minutes.
Michael Grabner – 80GP 27-9-36. Grabner surprised me a lot last year, tallying 27 rips which was good enough to win him the NHL’s Cy Young award – Awarded to the player who had the most impressive disparity in goals and assists. Despite being 31 years old, this offseason he has proven he is still in tremendous shape. Though I don’t expect him to receive big minutes over the fountain of youth the Coyotes have up front, he is a viable stream option as he tends to score in bunches.
Dylan Strome – AHL: 50GP 22-31-53. The Coyotes have had to be very patient with Strome since taking him third overall in 2015. The big-bodied centreman is receiving comparisons to Ryan Getzlaf, however he has yet to make his mark 28 games into his NHL career. If he is given a good opportunity with good linemates, I believe Strome can finally break out. However, with Galchenyuk and Stepan manning the #1 and #2 C spots, Strome will likely not be a viable pick up unless he plays the wing.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – 82GP 14-28-42. Last season seemed to be a constant uphill battle as the Yotes’ top defenceman for OEL. Despite a horrible -28 rating (which kept him in the running for Mike Commodore’s Green Jacket), his point total was par for the course based on previous years. If his supporting cast on the back end plays better and the young offence continues to produce, OEL could see a spike in production. This would hopefully make less of his ATOI of 23:40 occur in the D-zone.
Alex Goligoski – 78GP 12-23-35. This 33-year-old veteran regularly hovers around the 35-point mark; however, a little bit of PP time could increase his chance of being a streamer. If this Arizona group is able to keep pucks out of their net and push the pace of play, guys like Goligoski will put up more points.
Jakob Chychrun – 50GP 4-10-14. As mentioned above, these Arizona D will get better as their team does. Chychrun, a former first-overall pick in the OHL will get loads of ice time if he stays healthy this season. Plenty of opportunity from the coaching staff could make Chychrun a sleeper.
Antti Raanta – 47GP 2.24GAA 922SV%. There is no telling what this Arizona Coyotes team will accomplish this season, however any success will be based off the play of Raanta. After posting impressive numbers backing up Corey Crawford in Chicago and Henrik Lundqvist in New York, Raanta put up solid numbers this past season despite having a brutal team in front of him. The future is looking quite bright for the Coyotes, however only time will tell whether or not Raanta is the real deal. If he falls to later rounds in the draft, he will be a solid second goaltender on your fantasy team.
Barrett Hayton – OHL: 63GP 21-39-60. The Yotes surprised a lot of people opting to take Hayton over the free-falling Zadina at fifth overall this past year. Hayton is likely to report back to Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL for the season given how young this team already is.
Tyler Steenbergen – WHL: 56GP 47-55-102. Despite Steenbergen lighting up the WHL this year, he is forever in my mind for scoring the winning goal for Canada at the World Juniors. Slated to start the season in the AHL, it wouldn’t surprise me if he saw some big league action. If he finds his scoring touch early, he could be a viable stream option with the Yotes.
Pierre-Olivier Joseph – QMJHL: 63GP 13-33-46. The 2017 first round pick is a big, lanky defenceman that has shown some offensive prowess in major junior. He is scheduled to report back to Charlottetown of the QMJHL for 2018-19, but he is certainly an exciting defenceman in the Coyotes pipeline.
Nick Merkley – AHL: 38GP 18-21-39. Merkley is a 2015 first rounder that can play centre or the wing. His hockey-IQ and puck moving ability are reflected by his point totals both in major junior and the AHL. He seems like a dynamic player that the Yotes may look to call up in the near future.