The Arizona Coyotes season hasn’t started the way they hoped. They currently sit last in the league with a 2-13-2 record. Although the Coyotes have had a poor start, rookie Clayton Keller is having a spectacular start. He is succeeding on his own terms.
Clayton Keller Making Noise Around the NHL
Keller, 19, was drafted seventh overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Just one year removed from the draft, Keller has managed to score at a point per game pace with 17 points in his first 17 games for the Coyotes. The youngster’s performance is one of the few positives for fans in an otherwise poor start for the Coyotes this season.Keller is turning heads. Based on his strong start, he won rookie of the month for October. He currently leads all Coyotes forwards in goals and points and is tied for eleventh in league scoring.
Keller is a speedy player who is not scared to get to the dirty areas, even though he is not the biggest player. In addition to his relentless hard work, Keller has proven he can score five-on-five, not just on the man advantage. Keller has scored eight of his ten goals at even strength and only two when his team is on the power-play. He’s also scored the first goal of the game three times.
Road to the NHL for Clayton Keller
After Keller was drafted in 2016, he spent a year at Boston University playing for the Terriers. He finished the year with 45 points in 31 games played. Keller played three games for the Coyotes at the end of last year, scoring two points. He was great at last year’s World Juniors as well. The forward suited up for Team USA, tallying 11 points in seven games. Keller and his team went on to secure gold at the tournament.
Calder Trophy Conversation
Clayton Keller is an early contender for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year. Keller is currently at the top of rookie scoring. When April rolls around, he’ll have to put his numbers up against players like Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick. The Coyotes might be worried about their record through the first month of their season, but they have nothing to worry about in Clayton Keller.
What Is Contributing To Keller’s Success?
It’s easy to look at Keller’s numbers and come to the conclusion that he’s on fire offensively. But you have to remember he has two other players that he’s with on 5 on 5 that could be helping him. Keller has seen himself on the first line for the majority of the first 17 games the Coyotes have played. He has been on a line centered by Derek Stepan, whom the Coyotes acquired days before the 2017 NHL Draft. He is also playing with Max Domi, another highly touted youngster the Coyotes are counting on for the team’s future success.
Stepan currently has two goals and five assists in 17 games, while Domi has 10 points in 17 games, one goal and nine assists. Clayton Keller is by far the most lethal forward on the team this season.
Clayton Keller’s Value To The Arizona Coyotes
For the past few years, the Coyotes have made it clear they’re willing to rebuild in order to be more successful in the long-term picture. Keller was ranked second among the best prospects the Coyotes organization during the past off-season, behind Dylan Strome. With his early play, he’s surpassed Strome at this point. When Strome makes the jump to the NHL, the thought of him centering a line with Keller is a scary thought for opposing teams. Keller is a promising piece to the Coyotes future. With the Coyotes strong prospect pool, he will soon be getting help as the team continues it’s rebuilding.
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