Tocchet: Coyotes’ Clayton Keller ‘starting to find right path’ to greatness

Feb 17, 2021, 12:11 PM

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller burst onto the scene early on in his NHL career.

Known for his offense, Keller led the Coyotes in points in the first two years he played in the NHL. Keller placed third in the Calder Trophy voting as the NHL’s top rookie during the 2017-18 season.

But since his 65-point rookie season, Keller’s production has declined year over year. The lack of scoring was especially evident through the first 10 games of this season, as Keller registered just two goals and two assists.

Since Feb 6, however, it’s been a different story.

Looking at the previous five games, Keller has taken a big step forward, recording three goals, two of which were game winners, and three assists. He’s also posted four penalty minutes.

“Clayton’s a great kid. I’ve been hard on him this year. Two weeks ago we had some conversations that were tough on him but he responded,” head coach Rick Tocchet told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Wednesday. “Keller’s not the biggest guy but he’s got to play inside, he’s got to play situational hockey. He’s got to understand the right time to do things and the wrong time.”

“For these two weeks and especially the last five games, he’s doing most of the things right and that’s when you get rewarded. His battle level, you watch him and he’s getting in there and staying in there. When Keller gets in trouble he plays on the outside and he tries the fancy stuff at the wrong times. Then he gets frustrated and his effort level goes down.”

For Tocchet, the answer to Keller’s up-and-down season is simple. The forward certainly has the talent. It’s on him to make the most of his abilities when moments call for it.

“Young guys, they want to be the best. Sometimes they don’t know the path to get there,” Tocchet said. “They think other ways sometimes and I think it’s important that you find common ground with these kids to get there. He knows the path he was going he was never going to get there.

“I think he’s starting to understand he’s going to have to go down this path to be that great player he wants to be. He’ll do anything. The guy put a $50,000 shooting gallery in his house. I thought that was amazing. … It’s there, it’s just the matter of what path he wants to go on. I think he’s starting to find it.”


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Coyotes

NHL Global Series - Arizona Coyotes v Los Angeles Kings...

Arizona Sports

Coyotes conclude Australia series with Kings, Josh Doan scores hat trick in split-squad action

Josh Doan -- son of Shane Doan -- scored a hat trick for the Coyotes against the St. Louis Blues in preseason action.

6 days ago

Logan Cooley, #3 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...

Arizona Sports

Cooley scores spin-o-rama goal as Coyotes beat Kings in first NHL preseason game in Australia

Coyotes rookie Logan Cooley scored a nifty, highlight-reel goal and Arizona beat the Los Angeles Kings, 5-3, in the NHL's first preseason game played in the Southern Hemisphere.

7 days ago

The Arizona Coyotes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., on Dec. 29, ...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes extend partnership with Arizona Sports

The Arizona Coyotes have announced a one-year partnership extension with Bonneville Phoenix to continue broadcasting the team's games.

9 days ago

Jan Jenik...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes sign forward Jan Jenik to 2-way contract

The Arizona Coyotes announced Wednesday that they signed forward Jan Jenik to a one-year, two-way contract.

10 days ago

Logan Cooley walks toward the stage after being selected third overall by the Arizona Coyotes durin...

Aaron Schmidt

Logan Cooley wants to ‘thrive in NHL,’ make impact with Coyotes

Rookie sensation Logan Cooley is excited to not only make an impact with the Arizona Coyotes, but the NHL too.

10 days ago

General manager Bill Armstrong of the Arizona Coyotes during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...

Aaron Schmidt

New Coyotes signings ready to make impact

Under GM Bill Armstrong, the Arizona Coyotes have been in a slow rebuild. However, this offseason's signings could make a noticeable impact.

14 days ago

Tocchet: Coyotes’ Clayton Keller ‘starting to find right path’ to greatness