As part of NHL.com's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.
Leading the way: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Ekman-Larsson was one of two defensemen in the NHL to lead his team in scoring (Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators was the other). However, he was the only blueliner to lead his team in goals and points (23 and 43, respectively). His 23 goals led all NHL defensemen and his 38 goals over the past two seasons are tied for second most among blueliners (Karlsson has 41). Ekman-Larsson, 24, should continue to improve while Arizona begins to deploy its youth movement (see deep sleeper below) and if his plus/minus improves, he could end up turning into a top-10 fantasy defenseman.
COYOTES' FANTASY-RELEVANT PLAYERS
Below is a list of the fantasy-relevant players in the Arizona Coyotes organization. These players have been arranged by NHL.com's fantasy staff based on projected value and by position. These players range from top-tier assets to deep sleepers and should be on your radar in standard Yahoo leagues.
* Red indicates newcomer to team
Undervalued: Steve Downie
PIMs, PIMs and more PIMs. As long as your league counts penalty minutes as a category, Downie needs to be drafted with one of your final picks. In the past two seasons, only Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars has more PIMs (357) than Downie's 344. However, Downie accomplished that number in 27 fewer games. Downie is also capable of chipping in offensively after scoring 14 goals and 14 assists with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.
Overvalued: Antoine Vermette
Vermette had 35 points in 63 games with the Coyotes before getting three assists in 19 games with the Chicago Blackhawks after being traded. The 33-year-old could be a top-six forward for Arizona and end up with 35-45 points, but his peripheral stats will really hurt his fantasy value and he's not worth drafting in even the deepest leagues.
Deep sleeper: Max Domi and Anthony Duclair
In 57 games with the London Knights of the OHL last season, Domi had 32 goals, 70 assists and 66 penalty minutes. He has improved his point totals in each of his four seasons with the Knights and should be ready for the NHL. If that happens, look for him to line up among Arizona's top-six forwards with Duclair on his side. The former New York Rangers prospect, who was acquired in the Keith Yandle trade, had 50 goals in 59 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2013-14 and got a taste of the NHL with the Rangers last season (seven points in 18 games). Domi and Duclair have loads of potential and could be fantasy forces for years to come. Look to grab them late in your draft.
Goalie outlook: Mike Smith and Anders Lindback
The good thing about Smith is he's a workhorse; the bad thing is that he's coming off a bad season by his standards. Since joining the Coyotes in 2011, Smith has started 223 games, tied for the fourth most. During that time, he's faced the most shots with 6,830. At 33 years old and after posting a career-worst 3.16 goals against average in 2014-15, there's a chance newcomer Anders Lindback cuts into Smith's playing time, but in all likeliness, fantasy owners should expect Smith to start around 60 games and revert back to numbers closer to his career marks (2.67 goals against average and .912 save percentage).