We are 29 days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the Arizona Coyotes.
|Alex Goligoski – D – (from DAL)||Antoine Vermette – C – (to ANA)|
|Radim Vrbata – RW – (from VAN)||Boyd Gordon – RW – (to PHI)|
|Jamie McGinn – LW – (from ANA)||Christian Thomas – RW – (to WSH)|
|Ryan White – RW – (from PHI)||Joe Vitale – C – (to DET)|
|Lawson Crouse – LW – (from FLA)|
The Coyotes missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season and finished under .500 for the second straight season. They have gone 59-89-16 (.409 PTS%) in those two seasons, which is second worst in the NHL.
Arizona didn’t make any changes behind the bench, but hired John Chayka as their new general manager. Chayka, 27, becomes the youngest general manager in the NHL and made a number of big offseason moves. The Coyotes recent struggles had enabled them to build up a great stable of prospects and they added to that group this summer, acquiring Lawson Crouse from Florida and Anthony DeAngelo from Tampa Bay. Crouse is expected to battle for a roster spot in training camp and fellow rookies Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak should crack the opening night roster.
Both Strome and Dvorak are coming off of excellent OHL seasons and they will join a core that includes third-year forward Anthony Duclair and second-year winger Max Domi. That group is insulated by veteran forwards Martin Hanzal, Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata. Domi and Duclair are near the top of the list of potential breakout candidates in 2016-17 after impressing in 2015-16.
The Coyotes blueline continues to improve as well. The group is led by Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who is a legit No.1 fantasy defenseman and he plays alongside Michael Stone, who is hopeful that he will be ready for the season opener after undergoing knee surgery this summer. Arizona added Alex Goligoski to the group this summer, which should improve a power-play that ranked 20th in the NHL a season ago.
Between the pipes, Mike Smith is the Coyotes’ No.1 but he has battled injuries over the years, especially in 2015-16. Smith was limited to 32 games which enabled them to get a good look at Louis Domingue—who enters the year as their backup. The 24-year-old posted modest numbers during his AHL career but was impressive last year—winning 15 games with a .912 save percentage (SV%). In order for the Coyotes to be successful in 2016-17, they need Smith to stay healthy and play better. From 2012-1014, Smith posted a .921 SV% and 2.45 goals against average, which is the type of performance they need from him this season.
Overall, the Coyotes are expected to be a better team than they were in 2015-16, but are probably not ready to return to the playoffs just yet. Arizona’s future is definitely bright though.
Coyotes in the DFO Top 275:
- 33. Oliver Ekman-Larsson – D
- 73. Max Domi – LW
- 124. Anthony Duclair – RW
- 165. Alex Goligoski – D
- 188. Mike Smith – G
- 225. Radim Vrbata – RW
- 238. Christian Dvorak – LW
- 244. Dylan Strome – C
- 248. Shane Doan – RW
- 259. Martin Hanzal – C
- 269. Michael Stone – D
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Coyotes improve offensively and defensively—they ranked 24th in goals for and 29th in goals against in 2015-16—but miss the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Despite an improved performance, the Coyotes finish sixth in a tough Pacific and 13th in the Western Conference.
- Anaheim Ducks
- Arizona Coyotes