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Team Reset

Coyotes optimistic after Galchenyuk, Grabner additions, strong finish

Return top six defensemen, including Ekman-Larsson, who got 8-year extension

by Craig Morgan / NHL.com Correspondent

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:

The Arizona Coyotes believe their 17-12-3 record after the 2018 NHL All-Star Game is a better indicator of things to come than their 29-41-12 overall record last season. The Coyotes have played one season in coach Rick Tocchet's fast-paced system, their top six defensemen return, and Antti Raanta had the second-highest save percentage among NHL goaltenders who played at least 32 games (.930), behind Carter Hutton for the St. Louis Blues (.931).

Arizona's biggest concern heading into the offseason was scoring after finishing 30th in the NHL in goals in 2017-18 (2.51 per game). To increase production, the Coyotes acquired forward Alex Galchenyuk from the Montreal Canadiens in a trade for forward Max Domi and signed forward Michael Grabner as an unrestricted free agent.

The Coyotes also acquired forward Marian Hossa, who has three years remaining on his contract, but won't play, forward Vinnie Hinostroza, defenseman Jordan Oesterle and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks on July 12 for forwards Marcus Kruger and Jordan Maletta, defenseman Andrew Campbell, the rights to unsigned 2017 draft pick MacKenzie Entwistle, and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft.

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

Arizona locked up top defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson with an eight-year contract extension, a move general manager John Chayka called "a huge moment for our entire organization."

They have not qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2011-12 season.

Here is what the Coyotes look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Alex Galchenyuk, F: Arizona believes it added a top-six center when it traded for Galchenyuk on June 15. Galchenyuk's 255 points (108 goals, 147 assists) are tied with Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg for the most of any player selected in the 2012 NHL Draft. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin and coach Claude Julien felt Galchenyuk was more effective on the wing, but Chayka and Tocchet disagree with that assessment and will give Galchenyuk, 24, a chance to play center on the second line. He scored 30 goals playing center in 2015-16. … Michael Grabner, F: The Coyotes signed Grabner to a three-year contract July 1. He has scored 27 goals each of the past two seasons and has 158 goals in 553 NHL games. His 51 even-strength goals over the past two seasons are tied for eighth in the NHL, but 11 of his 54 goals in that span were into an empty net. Tocchet expects Grabner, who turns 31 on Oct. 5, to play on the third line. ... Vinnie Hinostroza, F: The 24-year-old had NHL career highs in goals (seven), assists (18) and points (25) last season, when he got time on the top two lines for the Blackhawks. ... Jordan Oesterle, D: The 26-year-old had NHL career highs of five goals and 15 points in 55 games last season and could play on the third pair. 

Video: Tocchet on the Coyotes acquiring Galchenyuk

 

Key departures

Max Domi, F: The No. 12 pick in the 2013 draft, Domi scored 18 goals as a rookie in 2015-16 but slipped to nine each of the past two seasons. … Jordan Martinook, F: A top penalty-killer and favorite of former coach Dave Tippett, Martinook averaged 14:01 of ice time under Tocchet, 1:40 less than he did the previous season for Tippett. … Luke Schenn, D: When Arizona re-signed third-pair defenseman Kevin Connauton to a two-year contract June 27, Schenn became expendable. He signed a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks on July 1 as an unrestricted free agent. Schenn played 64 games and was fifth in total ice time among Coyotes defensemen last season (1,048:36) because of injuries to Jakob Chychrun and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

 

On the cusp

Lawson Crouse, F: Crouse, 21, appeared to establish himself in the NHL in 2016-17, when he played 72 games for Arizona, but he played in 11 last season and needs to prove he can be a full-time player. He played the majority of last season with Tucson of the American Hockey League (56 games). He is expected to play left wing on the fourth line and give the Coyotes a physical presence after the departures of Schenn and forward Zac Rinaldo. … Dylan Strome, F: Strome, 21, selected by Arizona with the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, also played the majority of last season with Tucson (50 games). He had three goals and five assists in 10 games for the Coyotes after being recalled March 20. Arizona must decide where he fits in a lineup that already has Galchenyuk, Kruger, Derek Stepan, Christian Dvorak and Brad Richardson at center.

Video: ARI@COL: Crouse taps in nice feed from Archibald

 

What they still need

The Coyotes do not know whether Strome, Richardson, Mario Kempe, Josh Archibald or another player will fill a top-six forward role on the wing, where they could use more scoring. Tucson forward Nicholas Merkley's injury-plagued 2017-18 season likely removes him from the mix, and no other prospects are expected to make the jump. Chayka may have one more move in the works.

 

Fantasy focus

Arizona has not traditionally been a source of fantasy star power, but it suddenly has three players ranked among the fantasy top 100 overall: forward Clayton Keller (ranked 84th by NHL.com), Raanta (87th) and Ekman-Larsson (94th). If you're not comfortable reaching for any of the Coyotes' top three players that early, you should be able to land one of their projected top two centers in the 14th round or later of a 12-team fantasy draft. Galchenyuk had an NHL career-high 24 power-play points last season for Montreal despite top defenseman Shea Weber (26 games played) and left wing Max Pacioretty (64) missing significant time, and Stepan quietly had 56 points (14 goals, 42 assists) on the top line and first power-play unit alongside Keller. -- Pete Jensen

Video: Pete Jensen on fantasy impact of recent trades

 

Projected lineup

Richard Panik -- Derek Stepan -- Clayton Keller

Brendan Perlini -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Michael Grabner -- Christian Dvorak -- Christian Fischer

Lawson Crouse -- Brad Richardson -- Nick Cousins

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Alex Goligoski -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Jakob Chychrun -- Kevin Connauton

Antti Raanta

Darcy Kuemper

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