Arizona Coyotes Prospect Report: October
It’s early days, but it feels like a strange time for hockey in the desert. The team burst out of the gates 3-0, fell to 3-3-1, and finish up the first 10 games a relatively mild 5-4-1. Through the first 10 games the Coyotes are not nearly as bad as experts (and most fans) were predicting, the team isn’t performing all that great either. For a team expected to coast their way into the Auston Matthews conversation, Arizona is sitting six points ahead of the cellar and finds themselves in third place in the Pacific. This is an awkward spot and one that the team can hopefully rectify for better or worse because there’s not much that can hurt a franchise more than consistent mediocrity.
By hook or by crook the Coyotes will likely falter as the season continues, and are even more likely to falter if the bad goaltending and defending continue. We’re mostly in the futures business here in the desert in 2015-16, though, so how are those kids doing anyway?
- Dylan Strome – C – Erie Otters (OHL) 2015 3rd overall pick: After being returned to Erie via the very last cut of training camp, Dylan Strome was named captain of the Otters. Since that time, he hasn’t quite found his goal scoring touch (only 1 goal in 7 games) but he has contributed 10 assists for a total of 11 points. His first game back with Erie was highlighted by a 5 assist performance which is sure to excite Coyotes faithful. Strome put up at least a point in each of his first six games, however his most recent game against the Saginaw Spirit saw that point streak come to a close.
- Christian Dvorak – C – London Knights (OHL) 2014 58th overall pick: An overlooked player in the 2014 draft and to some degree an overlooked player in the Coyotes prospect pool, Christian Dvorak had a tremendous season in London last year. This year? Oh, he’s only been named co-captain of the Knights alongside 2015’s #4 overall pick Mitch Marner, with the two splitting the duties home and away and replacing current Coyote Max Domi wearing the “C”. He’s also had a pretty stellar start to his campaign with 5g-10a-15p to his credit so far. The US born center has managed to put up points in all but two of his ten games this season.
- Ryan MacInnis – C – Kitchener Rangers (OHL) 2014 43rd overall pick: Far less heralded than the two names above him, solid two-way forward Ryan MacInnis is playing on an undefeated (in regulation anyway) Kitchener team and putting up a decent amount of offense to boot. MacInnis has poured in 6 goals and 10 assists in 11 games, and when you couple that with his impressive defensive work it’s not a huge surprise to see him near the top of the prospect list for the Coyotes even if it’s unlikely we’d see him in brick red and black in the near future.
- Brendan Perlini – LW – Niagara IceDogs (OHL) 2014 12th overall pick: While his Niagara IceDogs are floundering, Brendan Perlini has shown a few flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately, he’s not quite putting up points at the pace you’d expect a 19 year old in his fifth year of junior to produce with 5g-4a-9p on the season through 10 games and 0g-3a in his last four games. I do wonder if there is not more to Dave Tippett’s opinion that Perlini not only lacks the small details of the game, but also the regular flash that can help an NHL coach overlook a few misplays. If Perlini can manage to stay healthy he could potentially produce a monster year in Niagara but we haven’t seen it just yet.
- Nick Merkley – C – Kelowna Rockets (WHL) 2015 30th overall pick: A bit of a bonus pick for Arizona in this year’s draft behind Dylan Strome, Nick Merkley’s Kelowna Rockets club is off to a decent start. With 2 goals and 5 assists through 7 games, the only real concern for Merkley is that he has been held pointless in 6 of his 10 games. Cleary when Merkley gets on the board, he does it in bunches. It would be nice to see a little more consistency. His previous season high point total was 90 last season with the Rockets. There’s no reason to suspect that he won’t be able to top that this year.
- Dysin Mayo – D – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) 2014 133rd overall pick: The Oil Kings are off to a very poor start. Dysin Mayo has put up 7 assists in 13 games despite this, but he also sits at -6 on the season. It’s hard to tell just where he lies early on as the Oil Kings are in a hell of a tailspin losing 7 straight. Mayo is showing some offensive upside and that is promising.
- Lucas Lessio – LW – Springfield Falcons (AHL) 2011 56th overall pick: With the rough start in Springfield, it feels like the boat is taking on water from all sides and Lucas Lessio is lumped into that mix. While it was speculated he may get the call to join the big boys in Glendale due to the recent rash of injuries, Lessio hasn’t exactly done much in Springfield through the first few games. He sits at -4 with 1 point after four games played.
- Louis Domingue – G – Springfield Falcons (AHL) 2010 138th overall pick: As if the Coyotes’ goaltending of late wasn’t already a concern, Louis Domingue has been getting shelled in Springfield. Allowing 10 goals in only 3 games played, Domingue has also suffered from a complete lack of scoring in front of him. In the three games he’s taken the net, the Falcons have been outscored 12-3. Nicklas Treutle fared even worse in his lone start.
- Henrik Samuelsson – LW – Springfield Falcons (AHL) 2012 27th overall pick: Henrik has had a rough beginning to his time in Springfield this fall. Despite playing in all five games Samuelsson has yet to register a point and sits at -9 on the season. He’s also generated only 3 shots on goal in that time frame. One could imagine he’s not exactly inspiring Dave Tippett to pick up the phone and call Springfield asking for his jersey number.
If you get a chance to put some eyeballs on junior hockey via the internet or other means you should definitely try to check out a few of the Yotes recent draft picks. Whether meeting expectations or treading water, a lot of these recent picks by Don Maloney are very exciting young players who create some can’t miss moments. It’s worth some of your free time.