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ESPN: Coyotes’ Christian Dvorak breakout candidate for 2017-18 season

Arizona Coyotes' Christian Dvorak (18) controls the puck as St. Louis Blues' Colton Parayko watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, March 27, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak had a strong finish to his first NHL season in 2016-17, and one ESPN writer thinks he is primed for a breakout campaign in 2017-18.

ESPN NHL Draft and prospects analyst Chris Peters came up with a potential breakout player for each NHL team, and he listed the 21-year-old Dvorak from the Coyotes.

It took Dvorak a little time to find his footing in the NHL last season after a truly stellar career in the OHL with the London Knights.

Once things started clicking, however, they really started clicking. Oddly enough, it appeared the turning point came on his 21st birthday on Feb. 2. He had a pair of points against Chicago that night.

It’s probably not safe to project Dvorak’s production within that smaller sample to become the norm (his shooting percentage was 21.1 percent in that stretch), but the Coyotes clearly have a lot of faith in him, as he’s now the No. 2 center, behind Derek Stepan. Dvorak is going to get an opportunity to prove he can be a producer for this team, and based on what we saw at the end of last season, I like his chances to do just that.​

During the final 33 games of the season, Dvorak established himself as one of the Coyotes’ best offensive players. He led the team with 11 goals and finished fourth in points with 20 during that stretch.

Before the Coyotes acquired Stephan from the New York Rangers in the offseason, Dvorak arguably could have assumed the top line center role.

Peters said he likes Dvoark’s chances to produce at a high level in his sophomore campaign, but he has been the definition of a streaky player. In his first 10 NHL games, Dvorak compiled five points and earned more playing time. But, he could only muster a total of seven points over his next 30 games.

After two games this season, Dvorak has a power play goal and an assist but a -2 plus-minus.


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