EDITOR'S NOTE: As part of NHL.com's 30 in 30 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. From most valuable assets to underrated options, impact prospects and more, this guide should help fantasy owners prioritize players for drafts.
Starting at the top: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D
Ekman-Larsson, the highest-ranked Coyotes player in NHL.com's top 200 (40th), covered five of the six standard fantasy categories last season, ranking among the top six defensemen in goals (21; tied for second), penalty minutes (96; sixth), power-play points (27, T-2nd) and shots on goal (228, fifth). His 55 points were an NHL career-high, and he eclipsed 150 hits for the second straight season. With forwards Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker no longer in Arizona, expect this power-play quarterback to maximize the Coyotes' younger players, who should see greater usage in those situations. Fellow defenseman Michael Stone, who emerged as a worthwhile fantasy waiver-wire pickup prior to his late-season injury, had 14 PPP in 75 games playing alongside Ekman-Larsson on Arizona's first unit. If Ekman-Larsson is available in the late-third or early-fourth round, make him your priority.
Undervalued: Shane Doan, LW/RW
Doan probably won't score 28 goals again this season (16.5 shooting percentage) but still has the multicategory profile to warrant a mid-to-late round pick after finishing 60th among all players last season. Doan, 39, is not taken seriously in fantasy, so continue to take advantage of what will likely be a low average draft position. He was one of three forwards (Wayne Simmonds, Brad Marchand) with at least 45 points, 90 PIMs and 170 SOG last season, and had healthy totals in power-play goals (12) and PPP (17) as well as another 100-hit output (116). Even if Doan is outside the top-six equation, as he was for much of last season, he'll see significant power-play time and help the inexperienced Coyotes navigate the ups and downs toward improvement.
Overvalued: Alex Goligoski, D
Goligoski was one of four defensemen with at least 35 points (37) and a plus-20 rating (plus-21); the others were his Dallas Stars teammate John Klingberg, Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty and Victor Hedman. As Dallas improved offensively over the years to become the NHL's highest-scoring team last season, Goligoski's numbers inflated; he had 30 or more points in each of his four full seasons with the Stars, including 42 in 2013-14 and 37 last season. That said, the Coyotes haven't had a defenseman with a plus-20 rating sinche Radoslav Suchy (plus-25) and Todd Simpson (plus-20) in 2001-02, so Goligoski's total likely is headed south. Plus, he has Ekman-Larsson and Stone ahead of him in the power-play pecking order among defensemen. His even-strength production should be strong, but expect the Coyotes to lean on Goligoski more for big minutes (23:50 per game last season) and defensive assignments than offense.
Sleeper: Anthony Duclair, LW/RW
Among rookies with at least 80 games played last season, Duclair ranked third in goals and points per 60 minutes. He mostly played on a line with Martin Hanzal when the center was healthy last season but also spent more time with fellow rookie standout Max Domi (NHL.com rank: 117th) at even strength and on the power play as the season progressed. Duclair, ranked 154th by NHL.com, had a low SOG total (105) but rounded out his category coverage with 12 PPP, 49 PIMs and a plus-12 rating (led Arizona). He had a 20-goal, 20-assist season and has far greater potential down the road, so make sure to target him promptly after the 12th round in a 12-team draft.
Bounce-back: Mike Smith, G
Despite missing more than three months because of a core muscle injury that required surgery, Smith had much better numbers last season (15 wins, 2.64 goals-against average, .916 save percentage, three shutouts in 32 games) than in 2014-15 (14 wins, 3.16 GAA, .904 SV%, 0 SO in 62 games). He was especially effective upon returning to the lineup, going 5-4-1 with a 1.81 GAA, .944 SV% and two shutouts in the final month of the regular season. He ranks outside NHL.com's top 25 fantasy goalies, but that doesn't mean he can't return to relevance if the Coyotes take a big step forward this season. It may be five seasons ago, but Smith did have 38 wins, a 2.21 GAA, .930 SV% and eight shutouts in 2011-12. See how far Smith drops in the later rounds and take a chance on him as your third or fourth goalie.
Impact prospect: Dylan Strome, C
Even with Hanzal's productive per-game stats, the table is set for Strome to jump him for the No. 1 center role this season, possibly setting up a line of Strome, Domi and Duclair for the short and long term. Strome is expected to push for a roster spot after spending last season with Erie of the Ontario Hockey League, where he had his second straight season with at least 110 regular-season points and more than a point per game in the playoffs. His fantasy stock could rise considerably in September if he becomes a lineup lock out of training camp, but for now, consider him a potential late-round steal.
If Smith struggles and/or deals with injuries again, don't be surprised to see the Coyotes tap into backup Louis Domingue, who had mediocre numbers on the surface last season (15 wins, 2.75 GAA, .912 SV%, two SO in 39 games) but held his own despite plenty of long road trips and minimal reinforcements for much of the season. Smith's availability was limited and Arizona's defense allowed 31 shots on goal per game (sixth-most in NHL), yet Domingue was fourth among rookie goalies in wins and got off to a strong start in his first 16 games (9-4-3, 2.08 GAA, .931 SV%, two SO). The Coyotes remain committed to Smith through the 2018-19 season but signed Domingue, 24, to a two-year contract in June because of his gutsy rookie performance in an unfavorable spot.