What is a star? I mean if we are getting technical then we could go through each of the 19 definitions that the word has (thanks Dictionary.com). But that’s is not why we are here. This question relates to people. The question has been prevalent in many industries and sometimes the term “Star” is ever changing. The Arizona Coyotes have had great players, mainly Shane Doan, but a Star was something that did not come about. Some people have more star power than others and a player being good does not necessarily qualify him as a star.
Okay, so after that fun little jaunt that started with dictionary.com and ended with me dropping a hot take that Shane Doan was not a star (he was very good and is Mr. Coyote so please do not burn me at the stake) let us get to the topic at hand. The so called “Stars” of the Arizona Coyotes have been elder statesmen. Now don’t get me wrong, Oliver Ekman - Larsson is a great player who has been one of the most consistent Arizona Coyotes in a while. However, Oliver Ekman - Larsson struggled in his first year in Rick Tocchet’s system while a NINETEEN YEAR OLD Clayton Keller flourished with some believing that Keller was robbed of an NHL All Star Game appearance (me included). I would argue, Keller passed the man known as OEL in terms of star power.
Clayton Keller has a lot of the things that a young star needs. First, he is an offensive difference maker. Sure, he struggled for a portion of this season but since then has come around. The league is driven by offense, of the top selling players (in terms of jerseys) list on NHL Shop.com, 12 of the 15 players listed were all of the offensive side of the puck. That is not a coincidence. One of the many reasons we love hockey is due to the thrilling action that comes from your favorite player bringing the puck up and creating an offensive masterpiece. Sure, great defensive hits and the physicality of the sport is great but there is much more to this argument. Clayton Keller’s age allows for for a greater connection to the community. Some young boy or girl could flip on an Arizona Coyotes game and create that fan identification sequence that is what draws us to our fandom.
If you are an Arizona Coyotes fan or an avid hockey fan, you are probably typing a comment that says something along the lines of “no sh*t Sherlock.” The point of this argument is to show that Clayton Keller is an “actual” star in the sport. Someone who is an “actual” star gives the team a great reputation in terms of bringing in talent. In the NBA, a team that has star power is usually what leads them to want to form a unit that becomes the best in the sport.
We all know the woes of this franchise. Relocation, constant ownership rumors and changes, lack of funds are just a few things that have hampered the reputation of the team throughout the years. John Chayka and co. can go into a meeting and show how both sides of the ice have very talented players and a star. Now monetary restrictions might halt some signings however the allure becomes greater.
Given his youth, and on-ice skill...Clayton Keller offers the Arizona Coyotes a young star that has the ability to transform the franchise and inject some life into a struggling market.