The Arizona Coyotes have a wealth of young talent spread throughout every level of the organization. In fact, 55 players were young enough to qualify for this year’s rankings, all of whom were still under 25 years old as of August 1.
These rankings are subjective, with each participant deciding for themselves what criteria was most important to inform their choices. Each of our staff members ranked the players they felt should be in the Top 25 and every player that didn’t make their individual list was considered tied at rank 26. The rankings were then averaged and sorted to determine the final ranking.
Here are the players that ranked 15-11:
15. Adin Hill
Highest Rank: 10
Lowest Rank: 21
Last Year’s Ranking: 22
Last season was a big one for Adin Hill. In his sophomore season with the Tucson Roadrunners his goals against average and save percentage improved from 3.16 to 2.28 and from .906 to .914, respectively. He also saw NHL ice for the first time of his career, and although those games showed he still needs has a lot of work to do before he is ready to be a consistent goalie they were an extremely valuable experience for the young netminder. It’s also tough not to attribute part of the Roadrunner’s success last season to their goaltender who helped lead them to the playoffs in their second season since relocating.
More than any other position goaltenders are the toughest to predict and take the longest to develop. Hill’s first four games in the NHL were pretty rough, but considering how the team in front of him was playing at the time it’s not too surprising. Last season’s play solidified him a bit more as the most likely candidate for the Coyotes’ goaltender of the future. If he keeps improving we will see more of him sooner rather than later.
14. Conor Garland
Highest Rank: 11
Lowest Rank: Not Ranked (26)
Last Year’s Ranking: 36
In the previous post it was mentioned how Conor Garland was a low risk, high reward pick in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. The Coyotes may have found another of those in Tyler Steenbergen, a player that was drafted 128th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Going into the 2017-18 season Steenbergen had a huge season with the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL we he scored 51 goals and 39 assists in 72 games, almost double his points from the previous season. After being drafted Steenbergen proved that season wasn’t a fluke by topping it with 47 goals and 55 assists in 56 games and scoring the game-winning goal during the gold medal game at the 2018 World Junior Championship.
Having signed a three-year, entry-level deal back in March, it’ll be interesting to see what the upcoming season will hold for Steenbergen. Steenbergen is listed at 5’ 10” and traditional wisdom suggests it may be tough for him to transition to the NHL. But Clayton Keller and other players have shown that you can still be successful without height in the modern NHL.
13. Laurent Dauphin
Highest Rank: 8
Lowest Rank: Not Ranked (26)
Last Year’s Ranking: Not ranked
Laurent Dauphin’s time away from the Arizona Coyotes did not last long. The ‘Yotes traded Dauphin and Connor Murphy to the Chicago Blackhawks in June 2017 for Niklas Hjalmarsson. Before the trade deadline the Coyotes sent Anthony Duclair and Adam Clendening to Chicago to acquire fan favorite Richard Panik and reacquire Dauphin.
At this point in his career Dauphin looks like a player that rides the edge between the AHL and the NHL. He has played in 34 NHL games, all with the Coyotes, and he hasn’t put up eye popping numbers with either the Roadrunners or the Coyotes. The thing that Dauphin has going for him is he plays a solid game and is defensively responsible. While other players on this list have a higher ceiling than Dauphin, Dauphin will likely still earn call ups because coaches know that he will be able to step up and be solid for a stretch of games. Players like Dauphin will have value in a highly physical game like hockey where injuries happen and coaches need players who can step up and play as needed. Fans shouldn’t be surprised to see Dauphin in a Coyotes jersey for a few games this upcoming season if a forward has to sit a few games with an injury.
12. Kyle Capobianco
Highest Rank: 7
Lowest Rank: 18
Last Year’s Ranking: 24
Kyle Capobianco played in his first full season with the Tucson Roadrunners this past season and it would be tough to describe that season as anything other then a success. He was a key piece of a very successful Roadrunners team and he earned a few call ups, although he only played one game. He also earned a spot on the AHL All Star team after San Antonio Rampage’s Jordan Schmaltz became unavailable.
The consensus remains that defensemen take longer to develop compared to forwards. As such it seems like it will probably take at least another season before Capobianco is likely to be a consistent NHL player. The fact that the Coyotes appear to have solidified their blue line for the upcoming season seems to support that they probably aren’t playing on having Capobianco in the NHL next season. But Capobianco adjusted to the AHL better then most of us would have predicted, and next season’s top ten may see him in the top 10.
11. Pierre-Olivier Joseph
Highest Rank: 11
Lowest Rank: 14
Last Year’s Ranking: 28
Spoiler alert: Pierre-Olivier Joseph is the last player who was with the Coyotes organization last season who didn’t make this list last year. There are probably a few reasons for this, the Coyotes’ acquisition of Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta in exchange for the 7th overall pick and Anthony DeAngelo definitely overshadowed his drafting, and as an offensive defenseman it seemed like he would probably take longer to develop. What a difference a year can make!
Despite the increased hype and doubling up on goals from 6 to 13 this past season with the Charlottetown Islanders, a team that he captained last season, PO Joseph probably won’t make the NHL roster next season. Joseph’s need to add weight has been well documented and its a key area that he needs to improve. Also, as previously noted, the Coyotes’ defense seems to have been solidified going into next season. More than anyone else on this list Pierre-Olivier Joseph has progressed exactly like the Coyotes needed him to, and he is looking more and more like a NHL player.