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Clayton Keller, seventh overall pick, is given a hat as he stands on stage with members of the Arizona Coyotes management team at the NHL hockey draft, Friday, June 24, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
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ESPN: Coyotes have second-best pipeline in NHL

Clayton Keller, seventh overall pick, is given a hat as he stands on stage with members of the Arizona Coyotes management team at the NHL hockey draft, Friday, June 24, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

It has been four seasons since the Arizona Coyotes have made a playoff appearance. Head coach Dave Tippett’s squad has been making strides though, as they had 22 more points in 2015-16 than they had the previous season.

ESPN Insider Corey Pronman ranked every team’s pipeline, or farm system, and the Coyotes were second on his list.

The Coyotes’ system is one of the very elite ones in the NHL, having a bundle of highly skilled players who can steal the show with their talents. The system was very good already, but adding two top prospects via selections (Clayton Keller, Jakob Chychrun) and one by trade (Anthony DeAngelo) at the 2016 draft — as well as getting Lawson Crouse in an August trade — solidified a top grade.

Despite not seeing any NHL action, the 20-year-old DeAngelo has a tremendous upside and has the potential to be a key cog for the Coyotes. The defenseman was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a second-round pick in this past draft. He was drafted by the Lightning in 2014, and scored six goals and had 37 assists last season as he played for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.

Keller, one of the Coyotes’ first-rounders, decided to join Boston University for the upcoming season. This past season, he scored 37 goals and had 70 assists in 62 games with the National Hockey Development Program under-18 team.

Chychrun, the other first-rounder, is another 18-year-old who needs development. The 6-foot-2 defenseman had 11 goals and 38 assists in 62 games last season with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. As of now, he is slated to play with the Sting again for the upcoming season.

Last week, Crouse was acquired from the Florida Panthers, along with David Bolland, in a trade that saw the Coyotes give up two draft picks. A 220-pound left-winger, Crouse is a big guy who is able to deliver big blows and create havoc on the ice. He is looking to get the first NHL action of his career after being drafted in 2015. He scored 23 goals and had 39 assists last season with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL.

Ahead of the Coyotes on Pronman’s list are the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Winnipeg Jets, Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes round out the top five.

 

 

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