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31 in 31

Arizona Coyotes fantasy preview for 2017-18

Domi in line for best offensive season; Keller, Strome lead pack of rookies

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. Fantasy-relevant players are listed in order of rank in NHL.com's top 250. Today, we look at the Arizona Coyotes.

 

[COYOTES 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers]

 

FORWARDS

Derek Stepan, C - The 27-year-old was traded to the Arizona Coyotes from the New York Rangers and will remain a No. 1 center with first power-play usage. He has scored at least 50 points in each of the past five full NHL seasons, and will have a chance to do so again with his new team. But Stepan has never been a minus player in his NHL career, which could change in his first season with the Coyotes. Stepan, who finished 60th in Yahoo last season, will likely regress, but his experience should have a positive impact on a young Coyotes offense.

Max Domi, LW - No Coyotes forward has scored more than 55 points since 2011-12 (Ray Whitney: 77; Radim Vrbata: 62), but Domi could challenge that mark if he stays healthy. Domi, 22, had 38 points in 59 games last season, an 82-game pace of 53 points -- nearly in line with his rookie production (52 points in 81 games in 2015-16). He also chips in penalty minutes and shots on goal, and should bounce back with a much-improved supporting cast.

Clayton Keller, C - The No. 7 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft had two assists in three games with the Coyotes last season. He'll have every opportunity to earn a top-six role this season. Keller flourished at Boston University last season, scoring 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists) in 31 games, and could be a fantasy steal in the later rounds.

Dylan Strome, C - This could be the year that Strome, 20, sticks with the Coyotes for a full season. He had one assist in seven NHL games last season but could benefit from the Coyotes' coaching change from Dave Tippett to Rick Tocchet. Strome has been an elite point producer in each of the past three seasons for Erie of the Ontario Hockey League, and should be worth the wait for fantasy owners who land him outside the top 150 overall.

Anthony Duclair, LW/RW (RFA) - This forward, who will turn 22 on Aug. 26, has a lot to prove after a pretty drastic sophomore slump. He had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 58 games after 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) in 81 games as a rookie in 2015-16. But a right wing spot on the top line and first power-play unit with Domi and Stepan could revert Duclair's numbers very quickly.

Christian Fischer, RW - The 20-year-old forward was impressive last season, scoring three goals in seven NHL games with the Coyotes and 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) in 57 games with Tucson of the American Hockey League. He's not ranked among NHL.com's fantasy top 250 at the moment, but has a knack for the net and should be considered a deep sleeper.

Video: ARI@LAK: Domi buries his second goal to tie game late

 

DEFENSEMEN

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - His 39 points, 12 goals and 145 shots on goal were big steps back compared to 2015-16 (55 points, 21 goals, 228 shots). He also had half as many penalty minutes and was minus-25, the worst total of his career. Ekman-Larsson won't be taken nearly as high in fantasy as he was last season (average draft position: 45.7), but remains one of the best goal scorers at his position and could benefit from the upgrades around him to score 50 points again.

Jakob Chychrun (INJ.) - The 19-year-old defenseman had a poor plus/minus (minus-14), but was productive offensively with 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 68 NHL games as a rookie. He'll likely be on the second pair behind Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson, so his fantasy sleeper value will depend on how well the young Coyotes develop as a team. He has a legitimate shot to score 26-30 points over a full season, but could be an injury concern after having offseason knee surgery.

Video: ARI@TBL: Ekman-Larsson rifles one in off the post

 

GOALTENDING

Antti Raanta - The 28-year-old will get a chance to be a No. 1 goaltender after being a backup for his first four NHL seasons. It's more than likely his goals-against average will increase (2.26 last season) and his shutout total (four) will decrease. His save percentage (.922 last season, .917 in career) could remain strong because of the high volume of shots he'll face in Arizona. Raanta should eclipse 20 wins, but his overall fantasy worth will likely take a hit.

Others to consider: Christian Dvorak (C), Niklas Hjalmarsson (D)

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