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.
Although it seems like a lifetime ago, Barrett Hayton played through a separated shoulder in a gold medal game at the World Juniors less than two years ago. Hayton was too good for juniors, not good enough to be a full-time NHL prospect, but he was able to light it up at the World Juniors and helped lead his team to a gold medal.
20/21 League: Liiga (Ilves), AHL (Roadrunners), NHL (Coyotes)
Games played: 8, 26, 14
Goals: 0, 6, 2
Assists: 4, 4, 1
Highest rating: 3
Lowest rating: 6
Last year’s rankings:4
Like most young players, Barrett Hayton’s season was significantly impacted by Covid-19, although not the same way as many others.
Hayton started his season in Europe playing for Ilves in Liiga. He had no goals and four assists over eight games with the Finish league and finished a -2.
After a rough start, Hayton came back to North America and started with the Arizona Coyotes. But he wasn’t producing, and he was finally eligible to be reassigned to the AHL, so the Coyotes sent him down to play with the Tucson Roadrunners.
Unfortunately for him, last season was the wrong season to start your professional career with the Roadrunners. The team’s head coach Jay Varaday was with the Arizona Coyotes helping to run the taxi squad, and the team that was ranked first in their division the previous season slid to seventh.
Hayton is still only 21 years old, and what comes next for him will depend heavily on how he does during the preseason.
The Coyotes do not have a lot of centers, and if he plays well, he should have plenty of opportunity at the NHL level. But if he needs more work, he will likely spend at least the start of the season with the Roadrunners, actually developing.
Hayton’s stock took a tumble after a rough season, but it is hard to imagine a harder situation for a young player. But the Coyotes’ rebuild is entirely underway and, with it, a front office focused on developing young talent and turning them into professional NHL players. The team is expected to finish towards the league’s bottom for at least the next two seasons, so there is no need to rush Hayton or any other young player.