Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Arizona Coyotes
For the last 15 years (12 with The Hockey News, last year’s via pinch-hitter Cam Robinson) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 16th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – Overall we’ve seen an upgrade in team speed here, and in the case of Galchenyuk versus Domi – an upgrade in terms of upside. That could just as easily go sideways, but the prevailing belief among fantasy owners is that this trade will tilt Galchenyuk’s way. This offseason has otherwise been filled with little tweaks to the roster, as well as strengthening the system in terms of players who are on the cusp of contributing soon by adding the likes of Robbie Russo, Hudson Fasching, Adam Helewka and signing college free agent Jordan Gross and former Isles prospect Ullstrom.
Regarding Hinostroza – he’s my early pick to possibly become the next Jonathan Marchessault. All he needed was ice time and opportunity, and he’ll get it with Arizona. His upside isn’t as high as Marchessault’s but it’s the same idea – a smaller player in his mid-20s with a lot of skill. As for Jordan Oesterle:
Jordan Oesterle playing with Duncan Keith:— Dobber (@DobberHockey) July 12, 2018
First 17 games: 10 points
Last 37 games: 4 points (includes 13 games with TONS of PP time and he had just one point)
Do not overrate Oesterle. He had his chance. He has potential, but not a shoe-in
Ready for full-time – There are a lot of players who could and should see NHL time in the season ahead, but very few (i.e. none) who are locks to make the jump. These players are, in order of my opinion in terms of readiness: Trevor Murphy, D; Laurent Dauphin, F; Ilya Lyubushkin, D; Dylan Strome, C; Lawson Crouse, W; Nick Merkley, F; David Ullstrom, LW; Kyle Capobianco, D; Jordan Gross, D; Robbie Russo, D. Three or four of these players will likely see more than half the season with the big club – in my opinion the first four. But all will come and go.
Murphy was very impressive down the stretch last season. Acquired from Nashville in the spring, Murphy had nine points in 11 games for AHL’s Tucson and three in eight games for Arizona. He is profiled extensively in the Fantasy Prospects Report as a boom-or-bust type. It’s a crowded blue line so it won’t be easy, making Murphy waiver fodder as opposed to draftable. (Read up on Murphy here)
Dauphin has to clear waivers in order to be sent down this season so the ‘Yotes will keep him. But they may keep him in the sense that the Leafs kept Josh Leivo last year. Either way, he won’t be cracking the top six. (Read up on Dauphin here)
Lyubushkin is a 24-year-old signed out of the KHL. He’s a tough guy in the mold of Niklas Hjalmarsson, and would fill in nicely if Hjalmarsson gets hurt (almost a certainty). But if your league doesn’t count hits or PIM then he holds no fantasy value.
Strome is the big name here that everyone is waiting for. Just wait longer. He’ll get a taste, several in fact. But he won’t make the team as a regular in the fall, beyond a few games maybe to start the season. The ‘Yotes crave a big center and he fits the mold, but they’re being careful with him and working closely with him on his skating. With Galchenyuk trying his natural center position again and Stepan, Dvorak and Richardson each taking more than 1000 faceoffs last season – that position is set. He’ll get the time he needs. Don’t give up on Strome because I think that will be a mistake. But you should never have assumed he was getting on this team as a 19, 20 or 21-year-old. (Read up on Strome here)
Arizona Coyotes prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – There is no shortage of potential with this team in terms of down-the-road outlook. But haven’t we been saying that for years? This could be the year where the Coyotes have a 70-point player, three 60-point guys and a 55-point defenseman to go along with a Top 5 fantasy goalie. But don’t bet your house on it. If it happens, Clayton Keller will be the guy to get there and Galchenyuk, Derek Stepan and Christian Dvorak will be the next three, or possibly Vinnie Hinostroza if he does what I think he can do. Oliver Ekman-Larsson would obviously be the big gun on defense and Antti Raanta will have to stay healthy between the pipes. But last season exactly four players reached and exceeded the 38-point mark. This year will be better, but still just a stepping stone. We’ve been in “wait-and-see” mode for several years now, so it’s time to start dialing back expectations until we see a little bit more in the results column.
Fantasy Grade: C (last year was B)
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