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Arizona Coyotes youth seems to be the way of the season

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With the Arizona Coyotes roster set, will opening night show that age is just a number?

NHL: Preseason-Arizona Coyotes at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Native Auston Matthews ran the show on opening night with a four-goal game. Connor McDavid had a two goal, one assist night in Edmonton versus a Calgary team with 18-year-old Matthew Tkachuk making their opening night roster.

Suffice it to say, going young isn’t a new concept this year for many teams.

The Arizona Coyotes are fully embracing the youth push, with five different rookies on the roster for opening night on Saturday. Maybe this will be the year that skeptics finally stop saying Dave Tippett cannot coach young players. Of course, that was never actually true; may I remind you that he coached a 20-year-old Oliver Ekman-Larsson, a 21-year-old Connor Murphy and so on. He doesn’t hate young players.

But even assuming he did, he's not going to have a choice this year, because the Arizona Coyotes are young. Young and hungry to prove themselves.

So... about those young players...

The Coyotes average age for opening night is 26.15384615... so let's call that just over 26 years old.

Below is the Coyotes roster, as of today, sorted by age.

Jakob Chychrun 18

Lawson Crouse 19

Dylan Strome 19

Christian Dvorak 20

Laurent Dauphin 21

Max Domi 21

Anthony Duclair 21

Connor Murphy 23

Jordan Martinook 24

Tobias Rieder 24

Jarred Tinordi 24

Louis Domingue 24

Oliver Ekman-Larsson (A) 25

Kevin Connauton 26

Michael Stone 26

Luke Schenn 27

Jamie McGinn 28

Ryan White 28

Jamie McBain 28

Martin Hanzal (A) 29

Brad Richardson 31

Alex Goligoski 31

Zbynek Michalek 34

Mike Smith 34

Radim Vrbata 35

Shane Doan (C) 40

In the over 26 years old category you have, two players at 26 (Michael Stone and Kevin Connauton), one player at 27 in Luke Schenn, who looks very very good in a Coyotes uniform already. Three players at 28 in Jamie McGinn, Ryan White and Jamie McBain. Everyone's favorite center Hanzal is the only 29-year-old. That is seven players between the ages of 26 to 29.

Then we jump into the over 30's. Brad Richardson and Alex Goligoski are both 31. Richardson is a candidate for the expansion draft while Goligoski will take minutes from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and quarterback the power play. What's left of Zbynek Michalek and what's left of Mike Smith's core is 34. Radim Vrbata is looking to heat up his career again at 35. That's five players between 30 and 39.

The only Coyote at 40 or older goes to the Captain Shane Doan, who just turned 40 on October 10th. This could be his last year or could not be... we just Doan't know. (Editor's Note: We make no apologies for that pun).

That is 13 players over the age of 26. And it's just seven in the prime age area and the other six on the other side of prime.

In the 25 and younger, you have a lot over very talented young players and a potential Norris Trophy nominee.

They have one player at 25, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who is getting better and better each year he plays. Soon people will see what a dynamic player he is and he will get the recognition he will deserve.

At 24 they have four players; Louis Domingue, a young and very talented goalie. Jarred Tinordi who is still serving suspension time for being caught taking PED's, Tobias Rieder who was just signed and joined the team finally and Jordan Martinook, an under the radar favorite from last season.

They have one player at 23: Connor Murphy, a defenseman who has been in the league since he was 21.

At 21 they have Anthony Duclair, Max Domi and Laurent Dauphin. Domi and Duclair will be lighting up the NHL for years to come and Dauphin made a quiet case for himself this year during camp.

There is one player that is 20: Christian Dvorak, who could be one of the steals of the 2014 draft.

There are two 19-year-olds on the team this year, Lawson 'I ate a worm for money' Crouse and Dylan 'Please don't send me back to Erie' Strome.

And they have one 18-year-old on the roster in Jakob Chychrun, who turned 18 on March 31st. He plays like an older player, is he the Coyotes case of 'no.. really?' like Florida has with Ekblad?

That's 13 players 25 and younger, with nine of them between 25 and 21. Four players are 20 and younger.

But Sarah, what does this mean?

It means the Coyotes are finally moving into an era where the team is split 50/50 between 25 and younger and 26 and older. This is good for a team in transition, to have an even split.

Youth can make the game faster, harder for teams to get a handle on the new players before the league figures them out, as Duclair and Domi did last season. The younger players are playing with the veterans, who are helping shelter the mistakes of the pups. But as the season rolls on, they won't be as unknown and everything will even out.

Auston Matthews went out and scored four on the Ottawa Senators, but he won't be doing that every night. Even Connor McDavid will not have a mind blowing game every night. Young players, even elite ones, have an advantage at the start of their first season. People will start to watch game tape, and then figure out how to stop them.

When it comes down to it, that's what it's all about, trying to stop someone. Age is just a number, the Coyotes just happen to have some of the best young hockey talent coming into the league this season.