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Re-examining predictions: Coyotes 20 goal scorers

Before the start of the season we looked at the probably twenty goal scorers for the Coyotes. A few seemed likely, but only one did.

Nashville Predators v Arizona Coyotes - Game Three Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

The season before last the Arizona Coyotes didn’t have a single player who scored at least twenty goals. The closest was Alex Galchenyuk and Brad Richardson who both had nineteen goals.

Before the start of this past season, we here at Five For Howling took a look at some players who may reach that plateau this season. And while a few came close, only one scored at least twenty.

An important factor is that the season ended before all 82 games could be played. It is entirely possible, if not likely, that with an extra twelve games the Coyotes may have had another player hit twenty.

Phil Kessel


Kessel’s first season with the Coyotes was a disappointment. He was brought in to score goals, and fourteen goals are not enough.

A key factor is likely the fact that Kessel had an undisclosed injury during the regular season. He was able to keep his iron man streak going, but it seemed to have an impact on his play.

Things didn’t get much better for Kessel in the postseason. He was limited to one goal and the team could have used more offense from Phil The Thrill. Some drop in production should be expected, but so far Tocchet’s reunion with Kessel has been a major disappointment.

Clayton Keller


If the regular season hadn’t come to an early end Clayton Keller likely would have hit twenty goals. He was great in the postseason, leading the team in both goals (4) and points (7) in nine games.

Keller gets a lot of attention thanks in part to his recent contract. It is important to note that the deal hasn’t even started, and last season was only his third in the NHL. But the Coyotes need a lot more from Keller moving forward, and it will be on him to prove that he is worth the money.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson


On the one hand, it is nice that the Coyotes are no longer relying on Oliver Ekman-Larsson to lead the team in goals. It’s also frustrating that the 23 goals OEL scored in 2014-15 would have led the team again this year.

Looking at the Coyotes’ blue-line the team should be getting more offense from their defense. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a big part of that, and while the team doesn’t need him to score 23 goals, they are going to need more from him.

Nick Schmaltz


When the Coyotes acquired Nick Schmaltz from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini he was expected to be a big part of the Coyotes’ offense. He had good chemistry with Clayton Keller and had 21 goals and 52 points in the prior season.

In his first full season with the Desert Dogs, Schmaltz lead the team with 45 points in 70 games. And while that is great, the Coyotes are going to need more offense moving forward, and Schmaltz is going to need to be a big part of that.

Unfortunately, Schmaltz missed the entire postseason after taking a hit from Ryan Reaves in the Coyotes’ exhibition game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Michael Grabner


After a disappointing regular season, things were looking grim for Grabner. It looked like the eye injury he sustained last season had changed his game for the worse. It got so bad that it appeared that Grabner would opt out of the postseason and the Edmonton bubble.

Thankfully, Grabner did come with the team. After a season of being a healthy scratch, Grabner played in all nine of the Coyotes’ games. More importantly, he seemed to have regained that step he lost after the injury, and he looked better than he had in a while. Grabner has another year left on his deal, and if he can pick up from where he left off in the postseason that will be great.

Conor Garland


While many players experience a sophomore slump, Garland took a big step forward. He was the Coyotes’ only player to reach twenty goals, and he is proving to be a steal as a fifth-round pick.

Conor Garland’s first postseason was far less successful. The Coyotes’ leading goal-scorer was limited to just a single goal and assist. The Predators and Avalanche weren’t especially dirty when it came to Garland, but he definitely didn’t have an easy time on the ice.

Garland did miss most of the fourth game and all of the fifth game against the Avalanche thanks to a head injury. He will hopefully be ready to skate when the regular season starts.

Vinnie Hinostroza


In his first season with the Coyotes, Hinostroza scored 16 goals and seemed poised to be a big piece of the Coyotes’ offense. This past season his role with the team appeared to change, spending more time with Brad Richardson and Michael Grabner on the fourth line.

Hinostroza’s shooting percentage took a pretty substantial drop this past season, going from 10.5% to 3.8%. That is a career-low for Hinostroza, whose previous low as 7.9%. This suggests that last season was an aberration and we may see more goals from Hinostroza in the future.

Bonus player

Christian Dvorak


Dvorak missed most of the 2018-19 season with injuries but he came back strong. He was second on the team in goals and has been a good player for the Coyotes.

While Dvorak was great against the Predators, like most of the team he wasn’t as effective against the Avalanche. Tocchet did announce that Dvorak was dealing with a shoulder injury after the first game of the Nashville series. Dvorak finished the postseason with two goals and an assist.