With hockey season back in full swing the Arizona Coyotes re-signed Clayton Keller to an eight-year, $57.2 million contract extension. Beginning in the 2020-21 season, his contract will carry a reported $7.15 cap hit.
There is word that one of next year’s RFAs — Clayton Keller — is closing in on an 8-year extension with ARIZ. AAV is in the $7.15M range.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 4, 2019
Arizona Coyotes Re-Sign Clayton Keller
The Arizona Coyotes drafted Keller seventh overall in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft out of the US National Team Development Program. During his time with the program, Keller set the record for all-time points with 189. His record was broken by Jack Hughes in 2019. Keller did not enter the NHL right away deciding to play college hockey at Boston University. He led the Terriers in scoring with 45 points (21 goals and 24 assists) in 31 games. For all his accomplishments, Keller was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Year for the 2016-17 season.
In March 2017, after his Terriers exited the NCAA tournament, Keller signed his entry-level contract. Keller played in three games during the 2016-17 season recording two points. The following season, Keller came into his own as a professional. He set a career-high and set a Coyotes rookie record with 23 goals, 42 assists, and 65 points earning himself a finalist nomination for the Calder Trophy in 2017-18.
During the 2018-19 season, Keller once again led the team in scoring registering 47 points (14 goals and 33 assists). Through his 167 games in the NHL, Keller’s 77 assists rank third and his 114 points rank fifth among all players selected in the 2016 draft.
What Lies Ahead
The Coyotes have one of the younger teams in the league. But as they showed last year in a tough Western Conference, they can compete with just about anybody. The Coyotes built themselves a nice nucleus with Keller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jakob Chychrun, Nick Schmaltz, and Christian Dvorak. All these players are signed to team-friendly deals as they grow together as a team.
With the addition of Phil Kessel via trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins this past off-season, this will open up options for Keller on the ice. Keller will not be the focal point of opposing teams anymore. Head coach Rich Tocchet also has options on where to play Keller in the lineup where he as the ability to shine even more.