Tyler Steenbergen has quickly become one of the positive stories for the Arizona Coyotes in the young 2017/18 season. Prospects having success at the junior level isn’t a new story for the Coyotes, but Steenbergen and his superhuman points-per-game pace warrants all the attention.
Steenbergen, passed over at the 2016 draft, was picked up as a 19-year-old by Arizona at the 2017 Entry Draft using their fifth round pick to select him at 128th overall. It appears like Christian Dvorak (taken 58th overall in 2014 after a season-ending ACL injury), the Coyotes have found another diamond in the rough.
As per Carl Pavlock, prior to the 2017 draft Steenbergen exploded offensively in the 2016/17 Western Hockey League season for the Swift Current Broncos and finished with 51 goals and 39 assists for 90 points in 72 games. He also collected the Brad Hornung Trophy which the WHL awards to their most Sportsmanlike player in the league.
During his time with the Coyotes at the rookie showcase in San Jose this pre-season, Steenbergen collected a goal from a Dylan Strome pass in Arizona’s 5-3 tournament finale loss against the Sharks.
As of publishing, the young Steenbergen has racked up 46 points (26 of them goals) in 17 games for the Broncos this season. This is good enough for an outstanding 2.71 points-per-game average. To put that in comparison, the then 19-year-old Dylan Strome led the entire Ontario Hockey League in points-per-game in his final season with the Erie Otters, finishing with a 2.14 points-per-game average.
Many have begun to speculate if Steenbergen is the player to break the WHL’s record for most goals in a single season, currently held by former NHLer Ray Ferraro at 108. Ferraro finished that season back in 1983/84 with a 2.66 points-per-game average, though if Steenbergen is whisked away to World Juniors by Hockey Canada it is going to be tough to beat.
On being drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in 2017, Steenbergen said he was excited get picked, but was understandably disappointed at being passed over during the 2016 draft, despite going in with no expectations of being selected.
“(After not being drafted) I came into last season to prove everyone wrong and I think I did a pretty good job of that and I’m very thankful the Coyotes selected me,” he added.
In meeting with Steenbergen, I was most surprised to learn who he models his game after and who he’s excited to play hockey with in Arizona.
“I’d say I model my game after Tyler Johnson of Tampa Bay. He’s a smaller forward, moves the puck well, he shoots it well, he can put up numbers but also takes pride in his defensive zone” said Steenbergen, giving us insight into his well-rounded game that one might not think of immediately after being blinded his electric offensive numbers.
Check out the video interview at the top of the page to hear some of these answers and learn more about Arizona’s hottest prospect, Tyler Steenbergen.
The Western Hockey League season is far from over and the same can be said of Steenbergen’s hockey career. Everything is just starting to fall into place for the young forward and Five for Howling will strive to catch up with him again toward the end of the season.
Note: interview was completed on November 10 when Tyler Steenbergen had 42 points in 16 games.