The 2021/22 season is fast approaching, so here at Five For Howling, we’re taking a look at this year’s Arizona Coyotes 25 best players under the age of 25.
To get us started with this year’s list, we’re starting right at number 25, which was shared between three players during last season’s edition - with Cam Dineen, Ty Emberson, and Filip Barklund all sharing the honor.
This time around, however, there is just one man standing, and that is 23-year-old Dineen, who was a third-round pick (68th overall) by the Coyotes in the 2016 Draft.
20/21 League: AHL (Tucson Roadrunners)
Games played: 22
Highest rating: 22
Lowest rating: 25
Last year’s rankings: 25
Over the past three seasons, the Toms River, New Jersey native has been developing his game in the AHL with the Coyotes’ affiliates, the Tucson Roadrunners.
During his time in the minor leagues, Dineen has appeared in 136 regular season games and racked up 11 goals and 36 total points - with his best single-season points average coming in the 22 games he played in 2021.
During the Covid-shortened season this year, Dineen averaged 0.45 points per game - much higher than his career average 0.26, showing signs that the left shooting defenseman is taking the next steps in his development and could be a potential NHL player in the future.
At present, however, there are many players above Dineen in terms of their existing ability as well as their NHL potential, and it is largely expected that he will play out the 2021/22 campaign in Tucson once again, trying to show the organization what he could offer them during what is a contract year.
Dineen will be a restricted free agent once the season is over, so the Coyotes will retain his rights in the summer of 2022 and will have to determine where his career trajectory is and whether or not he has any legitimate future with the NHL team or not.
For the Roadrunners, he will be a top performer and a solid minor league veteran and there’s every chance that his performances in the upcoming campaign could see him climb the rankings in next year’s 25U25 list.
Until that time, however, Dineen is the first entrant in our 2021 edition and his progress this season will be watched very closely.