#23 – Ryan MacInnis - Center
Where Did He Come From? 43rd overall pick, Second Round, 2014 Draft
Rank in last year’s 21 under 21? #9
Has He Played in the NHL: No
Last year, Ryan MacInnis seemed to be on the fast-track to making his NHL debut. As a two-way, 21-year-old center entering his first professional season, MacInnis perfectly fit the profile of a player bound for a late season call up.
His stock was so high, that he cracked the top 10 of this list before the start of last year.
However, things did not go according to plan in Tucson.
A center touted for his defensive abilities, MacInnis suffered a ghastly -21 plus/minus rating in his first full AHL season. His offensive game also failed to impress, as he scored just 8 goals and 17 points in 68 games with Tucson in 2016-17.
While his terrific size (6-foot-3, 183 lbs) makes him an asset on paper, his debut season in the pros left more questions than answers.
After his dismal minor league rookie campaign, MacInnis’ future is up in the air. While he is still relatively young, the St. Louis native faces strong and younger, competition up the middle of the ice in the Coyotes organization.
With the likes of Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, and Clayton Keller all preparing to crack the NHL roster, there seems little room for MacInnis to force his way to the Coyotes 23-man squad.
A much improved second year in the AHL would go a long way in re-solidifying his role in the franchise. Even when he was drafted, MacInnis was considered likely a bottom six center at best at the top level, a potential role he can still grow into, but it will have to start in the minors. A better plus/minus, and defensive game, in general, is a must if the left-handed forward is to stay in John Chayka’s long term plans.
A lockdown, defensively responsible center man will always find a place in the game. The question is whether MacInnis will be able to get his career back on track to reach that level.