ESPN’s Chris Peters has Clayton Keller as Calder Trophy front-runner
In a season of low expectations for the Arizona Coyotes, rookie Clayton Keller has given the fan base something to get excited about.
Only 19 years old out of Boston University, the top line winger has established himself as the team’s most lethal offensive threat and someone that other teams have started to game plan around.
Keller was as high as fourth overall in the NHL in scoring before his most recent four-game drought without a point. He still leads all rookies in points with 17 and in goals with 11. His 11 goals in 20 games puts him four ahead of the next closest first-year skater with three rookies tied at seven.
ESPN’s Chris Peters ranked Keller’s success best among the league’s rookies up to this point in the season.
“Keller is the Coyotes’ MVP so far, which isn’t saying much given the current state of the on-ice product. If there is one positive to take from a dreary season, it’s that Keller is looking like a cornerstone forward for a franchise trying to build itself.”
Other rookies in the mix for the Calder Trophy include Mathew Barzal of the Islanders who exploded for a five-assist night against the Avalanche on Nov. 5th. That performance vaulted Barzal to third in the rookie scoring list.
Brock Boeser of Vancouver and Nico Hischier are the only other rookies besides Keller and Barzal with over 14 points this season.
Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy is also in the Calder Trophy discussion and leads all rookie with an average of 22:50 time on ice. Keller is ranked second averaging 19:44 TOI per game.
Coyotes fans hope that the individual success translates to wins sooner rather than later. The Coyotes are off to a historically bad start with not a single regulation win in 20 games played so far this season.
Keller will have chance to right the ship Thursday on the road against Montreal. The Coyotes are on a four-game road trip through Canada with games against Ottawa and Toronto before returning home.