Arizona Coyotes Barrett Hayton Will Make His NHL Debut

Barrett Hayton
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18: Arizona Coyotes center Barrett Hayton (22) controls the puck during the preseason NHL hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Arizona Coyotes on Sep 18, 2018 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There’s an age-old saying that everything comes to those who wait. Well, Barrett Hayton has waited and been patient. Tonight against the desert rival Vegas Golden Knights, Hayton will make his first NHL appearance. Forward Lawson Crouse is sidelined with an upper-body injury. So, this is Hayton’s chance to show the team that they made the correct call by choosing him fifth overall in 2018.

Arizona Coyotes Barrett Hayton’s Debut

According to Arizona Coyotes head coach Tocchet, Hayton had a good camp and the qualities he possesses may help the team escape their scoring drought. However, one goal (even if it was a pretty play) will not win many hockey games.

It looks like Hayton will line up with two other centres with Christian Dvorak playing in the middle and Hayton and Nick Schmaltz on the wing. This line has been practicing together and we will see if they can mirror the instant chemistry of the top line consisting of Derek Stepan, Clayton Keller and newly acquired Phil Kessel. Centres are known to be playmakers. So hopefully they can create some chances that will result in the red light going on for the home team. Interchangeable players are very useful in case of injuries.

Additionally, Hayton has also practiced on the power play. This was alongside Keller, Kessel, Stepan, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Coach Tocchet likes what he’s seen of Hayton on the man-advantage.

“He’s got the characteristics of a power-play guy,” Tocchet said. “That’s something we really need. Retrievals are really big on a power play. Everybody wants to see plays and I know everybody is talking about the power play struggling, but when a power play is struggling it’s because of retrievals and because guys aren’t moving their feet to give support. I think that’s something Barrett is good at.”

Barrett Hayton’s 200-foot Game Will be Needed

Hayton isn’t known for just one thing but rather many. He is known for his defensive and offensive ability. Meaning, Hayton will need to continue to show he can come back and play his man when the need arises. What he is skilled at is his ability to go after loose pucks. However, he can also mix it up in the corners. He’s the type of player the Coyotes need to get their stagnate offence going again.

What Happens to Barrett Hayton After Nine Games

If Hayton doesn’t impress enough after nine games played, he could be sent back to the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. He just turned 19-years-old in June so he cannot be sent to the AHL until he turns 20-years-old. That puts the team and Hayton in a tough spot. He’s already proven he can dominate at the OHL level. So, sending him back there will not help in developing him further.

Eventually, it is hoped that he can fit in nicely and stay with the Coyotes through the season. This seems to be what the Coyotes want as they have kept him already despite not playing him. The Coyotes want to make the playoffs this year, so, they will ice their best lineup no matter what. It is in both party’s best interest if Hayton is in that lineup.

It will be intriguing to see how he plays on the Dvorak-Schmaltz line. Will the trio develop into a true second line on the squad? Nick Schmaltz seems to still be recuperating from his season-ending knee surgery after only 17 games with the team last season. If he can get going, Hayton will reek the benefits of staying in the NHL.

All eyes will be on Barrett Hayton as he makes his debut.

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