Desert Dogs

Chris Liggio

2018-03-16

 

Don’t look now but the Arizona Coyotes have won 11 of their past 17 games and look to be righting the ship on another lost season to finish strong. Several of their go-to players have greatly improved their play in the past month, posting solid well rounded stat lines. Making for one of the more interesting teams in the final weeks, a squad playing for nothing but pride can oftentimes be of nuisance for opposition in pursuit of a playoff berth. Although it’s been another disappointing campaign for Arizona, the immediate future certainly looks bright with the wealth of young talent in their system.

 

After going completely off radar for seemingly all of winter, Clayton Keller is catching his second wind as we approach the springtime. Reaching the 50-point plateau in his rookie season, Keller has been a solid fantasy contributor the past month. In his past 14 games he’s contributed four goals, eight assists, five power-play points and 27 shots on goal. Certainly not a dynamo by any means but noteworthy is the fact that on a team known for dreadful plus minus he’s posted a plus eight in this time span.

 

Prior to the quick ascents of Brock Boeser and Mathew Barzal, Keller was the uncontested Calder trophy frontrunner. Right at the start of November, Keller hit the wall at full speed and entered into streaky territory. Getting hot for stretches and then exiting Earth orbit for some time throughout winter, he’s recently turned the tide. The month of March has seen him return to the play showcased at the beginning of the year with two goals and four assists in seven games played only missing the score sheet in one of those contests. The Coyotes have six games through March 25th from this point making Keller an excellent own whilst producing for your fantasy playoffs. His locked in spot on the top line and top power play set him up to continue generating offense down the stretch.

 

Partly responsible for the rebirth of Keller is his center, Derek Stepan. Mr. Consistency as I like to call him is officially a team/situation proof play for fantasy hockey. Coming from a strong cup contender during his tenure in Manhattan to the bottom dwelling Coyotes, he’s once again on track to post over 50 points in a season. Should he do so this would be the fifth consecutive season hitting this point plateau for the 27-year old cerebral pivot. Though his plus/minus this year certainly reflects the change of scenery, he’s been a quality asset to own this past month with two goals, seven assists, 99 faceoff wins and 34 shots on goal. Currently hot with five points in the past six games, by the end of the season what you have in Stepan is a 50-point, 200-shot, 800-face-off center. Though he’ll never be ogled over because he’s not a sexy play, Stepan’s consistency needs to be valued more than he gets credit for. If you’re wise, in these closing weeks you’ll take a look his way for roster assistance in your playoffs.

 

Christian Dvorak has six goals in the past fourteen games and has already matched last season’s 33 points in nine less games. Another solid shooting and faceoff option he’d b