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Team Reset

Coyotes' young players have them ready for next step

Max Domi, Oliver Ekman-Larsson could help Arizona end four-year playoff drought

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Arizona Coyotes:

Although the Arizona Coyotes have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for four consecutive seasons, they made a 22-point jump last season from 2014-15 and appear to have the pieces in place for a bright future.

They have young forwards Max Domi, 21, and Anthony Duclair, 20, along with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 24, who was tied for second among NHL defensemen with 21 goals and seventh with 55 points last season.

The Coyotes have a deep prospect pool, led by forwards Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Brendan Perlini and Christian Fischer. Goaltender Louis Domingue played 39 games as a rookie last season and is expected to push veteran Mike Smith in training camp for playing time.

Veteran forward Shane Doan will return for a 21st NHL season, all with the Winnipeg Jets/Coyotes franchise, after signing a one-year contract Tuesday. Arizona's captain, who turns 40 on Oct. 10, scored 28 goals last season, his most since he had 31 in 2008-09.

Key for the present is the ongoing evolution of the young players and how the Coyotes begin to take shape under 27-year-old general manager John Chayka, who replaced Don Maloney on May 5.

Here is what the Coyotes look like today:

KEY ARRIVALS: Alex Goligoski, D: Goligoski, 30, was acquired from the Dallas Stars in a trade for a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft on June 16 and subsequently signed to a five-year contract. He had five goals, 38 points and a plus-21 rating last season. He should help the Coyotes improve on defense after they allowed 2.98 goals per game in 2015-16, 28th in the League. … Jamie McGinn, LW: McGinn signed a three-year contract July 1 after he had NHL career highs of 22 goals and 39 points with the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks. … Ryan White, C: White signed a one-year contract July 1 after spending the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers. He provides depth and versatility up front. … Clayton Keller, C: Keller was the seventh pick in the 2016 draft after he had 37 goals and 107 points for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. The 5-foot-10, 164-pound center turns 18 on July 29 and is committed to play at Boston University. … Jakob Chychrun, D: Chychrun, 18, was chosen 16th after Arizona acquired the draft pick and forward Pavel Datsyuk from the Detroit Red Wings in a trade for forward Joe Vitale and the 20th and 53rd selections. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound defenseman had 27 goals and 82 points with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Goligoski goes top-shelf to even score

KEY DEPARTURES: Kyle Chipchura, C: Chipchura remains an unrestricted free agent. He had 21 goals and 76 points in 319 games the past five seasons with the Coyotes. … Boyd Gordon, C: Gordon signed a one-year contract with the Flyers on July 1. He had four points in 65 games last season. … Jiri Sekac, LW: Sekac signed a one-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan of the Kontinental Hockey League on June 6. He had two assists in 11 games for Arizona after he was claimed off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 27.

ON THE CUSP: Dylan Strome, C: Strome, 19, could be ready for a top-six role after thriving with Erie of the Ontario Hockey League the past two seasons. The third pick of the 2015 draft was among the Coyotes' final cuts at training camp last season. He responded with 37 goals and 111 points in 56 regular-season games, and 10 goals and 21 points in 13 playoff games. Strome also had four goals and six points in five games for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. … Christian Dvorak, C: Dvorak, 20, was co-captain of Memorial Cup champion London; he led the tournament with seven goals in four games and was second with 12 points. He led the OHL with 52 goals and was second with 121 points in 59 regular-season games, and he had 14 goals and 35 points in 18 OHL playoff games. … Brendan Perlini, LW: Perlini, 20, missed training camp and the start of last season with Niagara of the OHL after breaking a bone in his right hand. The 12th pick of the 2014 draft had 25 goals and 45 points in 57 games. … Christian Fischer, RW: Arizona's second-round pick (No. 35) in the 2015 draft scored 40 goals in 66 games for Windsor of the OH and two goals in six games for Springfield of the American Hockey League. He is expected to get a long look in training camp.

WHAT THEY STILL NEED: The Coyotes are hoping the maturation of their young players lifts an offense that was 24th in goals per game (2.54) and 20th on the power play (17.7 percent) last season. Right wing Tobias Rieder and defensemen Connor Murphy and Michael Stone are restricted free agents who need to be re-signed. Arizona could use a healthy Smith, who missed three months after Dec. 15 surgery to repair a core muscle injury. He returned March 12 and went 5-4-1 with two shutouts and a .944 save percentage in 10 games.

Video: ARI@CHI: Murphy scores to put Coyotes on the board

PETE JENSEN'S FANTASY FOCUS: Duclair had a 20-goal, 24-assist season with strong outputs in plus/minus (plus-12) and power-play points (12) as a rookie. He could benefit from Strome's anticipated arrival and could have 60 points and 20 PPP this season, with 25-30 goals. His shot volume will be worth watching because he converted on a high percentage (19.0) last season, but Duclair is a clear fantasy sleeper considering he plays on the first power-play unit with Ekman-Larsson and Domi.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Max Domi - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair

Tobias Rieder - Dylan Strome - Christian Dvorak

Jamie McGinn - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan

Jordan Martinook - Antoine Vermette - Ryan White

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy

Alex Goligoski - Michael Stone

Kevin Connauton - Zbynek Michalek

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

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