When the Arizona Coyotes sent Darcy Kuemper to the Colorado Avalanche, they received a big return for a goaltender. Arizona received defenseman Conor Timmins, a conditional 2022 first-round pick, and a conditional 2024 third-round pick. Both conditions have been met and considering the Avalanche won the Stanely Cup, Colorado is probably happy with the deal.
And with the first of those two picks, the Arizona Coyotes select Luca Del Bel Belluz of the Mississauga Steelheads in the OHL.
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Luca Del Bel Belluz is a bit of a gamble for the Coyotes. He missed the 2020-21 season but exploded last season with 30 goals and 46 assists in 68 games.
ICYMI, Luca Del Bel Belluz with a casual end-to-end goal— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) December 10, 2021
Unfortunately, Del Bel Belluz’s production couldn’t follow him into the playoffs. After being over a point a game in the regular season, he was limited to a goal and three assists in ten games in the postseason.
The Coyotes need centers, and Luca Del Bel Belluz can definitely offer that. He has shown that he can score, and he is defensively responsible. He has also demonstrated a willingness to work, and he spent the canceled 2020-21 OHL season in the gym, adding 30 pounds while growing four inches to his current 6’1” 179-pound frame.
If there is a weakness in Del Bel Belluz’s game it is his skating. Most rankings highlight that his skating is a weakness, although there is a chance that he will be able to overcome that in the next few seasons.
Scouts seem unsure where to rank Luca Del Bel Belluz. NHL has him ranked 8th among North American Skaters, but Elite Prospects has him at 84th. But most people have him in the high 20s, so this move could either be a steal for the Coyotes, or a bit of a reach.
The season off is probably a big reason why scouts are unsure what to think of Del Bel Belluz. He had a weak rookie season in the OHL, and though he has shown improvement, it is a small sample size.
The Coyotes need scoring at all levels, and Luca Del Bel Belluz could provide that. Most rankings have him as a potential top-nine player who can hopefully offer some much-needed secondary offense.