ESPN: Five Coyotes’ prospects among top-71 in rankings

Aug 30, 2015, 2:51 PM

As we inch closer and closer into September, it means that hockey season is just around the corner.

The Arizona Coyotes’ rookies report to camp in just under two weeks, with the rest of the team joining them a week after that.

This season should prove to be a very exciting one for the franchise, as the team transitions towards their very bright and exciting future with many of their elite prospects starting to come up the pipeline.

How elite are these prospects?

According to rankings by ESPN, the Coyotes have five players among the top-71 and three players inside the top-16 of ESPN’s top-100 prospect list. ESPN hockey insider Corey Pronman ranked the Coyotes 4th on his organizational prospect depth rankings a few weeks ago, and recently came out with an individual prospect top-10 list for each team.

It comes as no surprise that Dylan Strome, the third-overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, heads Pronman’s team prospect rankings.

1 Dylan Strome, C (7)
2 Max Domi, C (12)
3 Anthony Duclair, LW (16)
4 Nick Merkley, RW (44)
5 Brendan Perlini, LW (71)
6 Christian Dvorak, C
7 Henrik Samuelsson, RW
8 Klas Dahlbeck, D
9 Jens Looke, RW
10 Christian Fischer, RW

The 18-year-old Strome is a big center who led the OHL in scoring last season with 45 goals and 84 assists in 68 games, while playing on the same team as first overall pick Connor McDavid.

Strome is a key piece towards the Coyotes building a perennial playoff contender, though he may be another year away from making the NHL club.

In the meantime, there are other prospects on that list who are ready to make an impact at the NHL level this season, led by Max Domi and Anthony Duclair.

Max Domi and Anthony Duclair should be full-time players in the top nine if the depth chart allows for it.

There’s no question that these two have the potential to be 20-plus goal scorers for many years to come, the question is are they ready to contribute right away?

The 20-year-old Domi has scored 32 goals or more in each of his past three seasons with London and earned captaincy with his OHL team last season.

Duclair was acquired in the Keith Yandle trade and just turned 20 years old. Last season, he made the New York Rangers out of camp, but was sent back down to his juniors team after a few games.

If those two can produce immediately, it would be instrumental towards the team pushing for a playoff spot as soon as this season.

Pronman also highlighted defenseman Klas Dahlbeck as a player ready to make an impact this season for the Coyotes.

Klas Dahlbeck was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in part of the Antoine Vermette trade. He’s a big, mobile defensive defenseman with a high level of hockey IQ, who is potentially ready to be a full-time NHLer as soon as this season.

After the trade from Chicago, Dahlbeck played in 19 games with the Coyotes and totaled three assists. He also blocked an average of two shots per game with 58 hits for the team.

Dahlbeck was able to see a high number of minutes down the stretch last season, which gave him ample experience at the NHL level to have him ready to contribute even more this year.

Another prospect that has a chance to make the team out of camp is center Christian Dvorak. He will need to have an impressive camp to make the team, but head coach Dave Tippett is very intrigued by the prospect, as is many around the NHL.

To put it simply, Christian Dvorak had a monstrous season in the OHL, being one of the most improved NHL prospects of the season — if not the most. Dvorak features a very well-rounded game, with his standout attribute being his great hockey sense. He skates well, is very creative, is a top-end passer and can play in his own end as well. It will be very interesting to see Dvorak on the international stage for the first time, should he make the American team for the IIHF World Junior Championships, as we’ve yet to see how he fares versus the best in his age group.

The elite young talent the Coyotes have had locked up will start being unleashed by the team starting this October, which has many hockey fans more than excited about what’s in store for this upcoming season and for many years to come.

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ESPN: Five Coyotes’ prospects among top-71 in rankings