‘Yotes Notes: The Boston University edition

Mar 27, 2018, 9:09 AM | Updated: 9:15 am
Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller (9) and Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) fight fo...
Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller (9) and Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) fight for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla. on Saturday, March 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)
(AP Photo/Terry Renna)

Clayton Keller is the most productive rookie in Coyotes history in every major statistical category.

The Boston University product had already broken Peter Mueller’s points record (54), set in 2007-08. He had already broken Max Domi’s assists record (34), set in 2015-16. With his 23rd goal, an empty-netter in a 4-1 win over the Lightning in Tampa on Monday, Keller broke Mueller’s goal-scoring record.

“Obviously, he had a great start, but the last 20 games I’ve really liked his play,” coach Rick Tocchet told reporters after the game. “He’s engaged. He wants the puck. Great players want the puck. They want to be in those situations. He’s doing that.”

With 23 goals, 38 assists and 61 points, Keller is one of just four Coyotes to break the 60-point barrier since the team moved to Glendale in 2003. Shane Doan did it four times. Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata did it once each.

Keller is one of 10 players to reach 60 points in Coyotes history. A Coyote has reached 60 points 20 times in the team’s 21 seasons in the Valley. Doan did it five times; Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk did it four. Ray Whitney, Mike Gartner, Mike Johnson, Daymond Langkow, Vrbata and Daniel Briere did it once each.

Keller has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in a nine-game point streak. With Vancouver’s Brock Boeser out for the rest of the season with a back injury, Keller has moved into second place in the NHL rookie scoring race. He is three points ahead of Tampa’s Yanni Gourde but 15 points behind the New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal with six games to play.

Keller’s .80 points per game are third among rookies. Barzal appears a lock to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, but Keller will likely be one of the three finalists.

Here is a look at some of the top rookie seasons in Coyotes history, along with a list of Coyotes who have reached the 60-point plateau.

Remarkable rookie seasons

2017-18: Clayton Keller – 23 goals, 38 assists, 61 points
2015-16: Max Domi – 18 goals, 34 assists, 52 points
2015-16: Anthony Duclair – 20 goals, 24 assists, 44 points
2007-08: Peter Mueller – 22 goals, 32 assists, 54 points
2007-08: Martin Hanzal – 8 goals, 27 assists, 35 points
2005-06: Keith Ballard – 8 goals, 31 assists, 39 points
1999-2000: Trevor Letowski – 19 goals, 20 assists, 39 points

Coyotes single-season point leaders (since 2003 move to Glendale)

78 — Shane Doan, 2007-08
77 — Ray Whitney, 2011-12
73 — Shane Doan, 2008-09
*68 — Shane Doan, 2003-04
66 — Shane Doan, 2005-06
62 — Radim Vrbata, 2011-12
61 — Clayton Keller, 2017-18
* — The Coyotes played the first 11 weeks of the season with America West Arena as their home.

Coyotes single-season point leaders (overall)

86 — Keith Tkachuk, 1996-97
78 — Jeremy Roenick, 1999-2000
78 — Shane Doan, 2007-08
77 — Ray Whitney, 2011-12
76 — Jeremy Roenick, 2000-01
73 — Shane Doan, 2008-09
72 — Jeremy Roenick, 1998-99
71 — Keith Tkachuk, 2000-01
69 — Jeremy Roenick, 1996-97
68 — Keith Tkachuk, 1998-99
68 — Shane Doan, 2003-04
66 — Keith Tkachuk, 1997-98
66 — Shane Doan, 2005-06
63 — Mike Gartner, 1996-97
63 — Shane Doan, 2000-01
63 — Mike Johnson, 2002-03
62 — Daymond Langkow, 2001-02
62 — Radim Vrbata, 2011-12
61 — Clayton Keller, 2017-18
60 — Daniel Briere, 2001-02


Defenseman Brandon Hickey’s college career ended when Boston University lost to Michigan 6-3 in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals at DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., on Sunday. His pro career plans are still cloudy.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Coyotes would look to trade Hickey “not seeing a fit to sign,” but Coyotes general manager John Chayka offered a more nuanced stance on Monday.

“There’s a fit for everything. It has to make sense for both sides,” Chayka said. “We’re just working through the different options now, including signing or trading.”

Hickey (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) had six goals and 14 points in 35 games with BU in his senior season. Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt said Hickey, a left shot, can play both sides, but he is more effective on the left side. While he did not put up a lot of points in his college career, he is a mobile puck mover befitting the current-day NHL defenseman.

The Coyotes acquired Hickey from the Calgary Flames along with the rights to free-agent goalie Chad Johnson (now with Buffalo) and a conditional third-round pick for Mike Smith on June 17. They own Hickey’s rights until Aug. 1.

Kevin Epp, who also represents Arizona defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson and goalie Antti Raanta, is Hickey’s agent.

Coyotes at Golden Knights

When: 7 p.m., Wednesday
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
TV: FOX Sports Arizona Plus
Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Records: Golden Knights — 48-21-7. Coyotes — 26-39-11.
Season series: Vegas leads 4-0 (two games went to OT)

Injury report: Golden Knights — F Reilly Smith (upper body) and D Luca Sbisa (upper body) are out indefinitely. F William Carrier (upper body) is day-to-day. Coyotes — F Laurent Dauphin (lower body) is out indefinitely. D Niklas Hjalmarsson (lower body and D Jason Demers (upper body) are out the rest of the season.

Golden Knights scouting report: The Golden Knights clinched a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday at T-Mobile Arena. … Coach Gerard Gallant recorded his 200th NHL win in that game. … F William Karlsson leads the team with 40 goals. … F Jonathan Marchessault leads the team with 47 assists and 72 points.

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‘Yotes Notes: The Boston University edition