Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Arizona Coyotes
For the last 13 years (12 with The Hockey News) I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. My 14th 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 – A new general manager means new ideas for rebuilding a team. Fortunately, Chayka has a great foundation of young prospects already to work with. And the prospects are close to being NHL-ready. The Coyotes are looking at bringing in two high-quality prospects per season for the next three seasons, as well as a role-player or two. But Chayka also brings in an analytical mind and style, so expect the lesser possession players (Vitale, Grossman) to be let go while the better ones (Goligoski) get ushered in. But this is the latest trend in the NHL and lots of players are focusing on those guys. So the transition will not be a fast one.
The arrival of Goligoski should free up Oliver Ekman-Larsson even though the two won’t be playing together (both shoot left). It just means that Coach Dave Tippett has two pairings to turn to for defensive situations rather than one.
Ready for full-time – The Coyotes successfully brought in Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Jordan Martinook in 2015-16. This year they’ll be looking at Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak and possibly Laurent Dauphin.
Strome is the best bet and he’ll probably start the season as the team’s third-line center. He’ll end it on the second line and given Martin Hanzal’s injury history you could see Strome as the first-line center at times. Strome is a Calder candidate, but expectations should probably be held to numbers similar to Duclair’s from a year ago (44 points). Read more on Strome here.
Dvorak is also a center but you may see him make the team as a winger or a fourth-line center. He’s coming off a 121-point OHL season with the London Knights, followed by 35 points in 18 playoff games and a Memorial Cup win. If the Coyotes sign another center this season then you’ll see Dvorak in the AHL. But if he cracks the lineup he’s another potential 40-point rookie player. Read more on Dvorak here.
Dauphin is a 21-year-old who has impressed the organization. Drafted 39th overall in 2013 he was a solid scorer in the QMJHL but should see more of a checking role at the NHL level. Arizona has a need on the wing and that’s probably where he’ll play in the short term. Read more on Dauphin here.
Fantasy Outlook – On the right track, but this won’t be their year. Still a team in transition. But the future looks promising, perhaps as early as 2017-18. The Coyotes already boast several defensemen who can post 40 points (and one who can post 60-plus), and there are at least four youngsters who will flirt with 70 points before 2020. If you’re rebuilding your keeper league team, you could do worse than loading up on these guys. Just don’t turn to them for immediate help.
Fantasy Grade: C- (last year was D+)
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