Before Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak dominated the headlines for the Arizona Coyotes at the center position, there was Ryan MacInnis.
Selected a year before Strome and 15 spots ahead of a then unproven Dvorak, MacInnis looked to be a two-way center with shutdown potential a la Boyd Gordon or Vernon Fiddler. But heading into 2016, Ryan MacInnis has demonstrated that he has the potential to be much, much more for the Arizona Coyotes.
Highest Rank: 5
Lowest Rank: 21
Ryan MacInnis is your prototypical late bloomer; in his draft season MacInnis had 16 goals and 21 assists in 66 games. But in his draft +1 year, he had 25 goals and 37 assists. And last season, he had 38 goals and 43 assists despite playing 7-8 fewer games than in seasons past.
Since his selection in the second round of the 2014 Draft, the biggest knock on Ryan MacInnis has been his offensive ability. He had the defensive ability to be a bottom-six center, but if he was unable to manufacture goals consistently his ability to stick in the NHL with the Coyotes would be a more open question.
The St. Louis, Missouri native has made an improvement by roughly 20 points with each passing year. And he is now AHL eligible, which makes him a lock to start the season in Tucson.
At 6’ 4", MacInnis has the size to be an NHL center. He has made strides at being tougher to force off the puck. And as an added bonus, he can start and finish his own opportunities. In this power play goal here, MacInnis starts the play down low by feeding Frank Hora at the point. He then moves to the proper position to receive a cross-ice pass from Jeremy Bracco (Toronto) for the open-net one-timer.
MacInnis is demonstrating the awareness and mental acuity necessary to be an NHLer. And he was also named captain of the Kitchener Rangers in early 2016, which shows a willingness to take on leadership responsibilities.
It seems like only a matter of time before MacInnis makes his NHL debut. The fourth line center competition in training camp this September should be fun to watch. Look for Ryan MacInnis to push Tyler Gaudet, Ryan White, and Laurent Dauphin to make the Coyotes to start the season.