Coyotes’ Keller On Pace For Record-Breaking Season

It’s no secret that the Arizona Coyotes have themselves a bonafide star in forward Clayton Keller. In 19 games this season, he’s recorded 20 points on seven goals and 13 assists. Coming off a six-game point streak, he is seemingly involved in every Coyotes goal in some way or fashion. After a record season just a year ago in which he recorded 63 points on 28 goals and 35 assists in 67 games before missing the rest of the season with a lower-body injury, Keller has not shown signs of slowing down just yet.

Clayton Keller Arizona Coyotes
Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Averaging just over a point-per-game at 1.05, Keller is on track for a record-breaking season like no other. With the pace he’s currently on, he’s projected to have 86 points on 30 goals and 56 assists over 82 games, numbers that would shatter his previous career highs. The ceiling is higher than ever for him. He’s improved his game over the past four seasons and taken on a leadership role, with the possibility of becoming the captain in the near future.

Keller Heating Things Up In The Desert

In a time in which the future is hot in the desert with prospects such as Josh Doan, Logan Cooley, Maveric Lamoureux, Matias Maccelli, Dylan Guenther, Conor Geekie, Liam Kirk, Anson Thornton, and others, Keller is setting the stage for the next wave of Coyote stars.

Related: Coyotes 2022 Player Reviews: Keller, Gostisbehere, & Schmaltz

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Keller has done more than enough to prepare fans for what is to come for the Coyotes. He’s cemented his status as a star in Arizona, a fan favorite, and a reliable two-way forward. He’s returned better than ever after a scary injury last season, and if the next wave of young guns on the horizon are anything like him, the Coyotes organization is in shape for a successful new era of hockey in the Valley.

Road To Potential Record-Breaking Season

Keller’s rise to Coyotes and NHL stardom wasn’t a smooth path. After a stellar rookie season in which he recorded 65 points on 23 goals and 42 assists in 82 games, the Coyotes awarded him with an eight-year contract extension. The future looked bright, but over the next three seasons he looked less than stellar leading to scrutiny over the extension. With 47, 44, and 35 points, the last being during a shortened season, it was safe to say he looked to be in a rut. He was getting bounced around in the lineup as the coaching staff looked for a spark.

Clayton Keller Arizona Coyotes
Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

People believed the Coyotes could look to move him, citing fault for such a big extension after one stellar season. Keller took that to heart and delivered this past season, surpassing fellow teammate Jakob Chychrun as the team’s guy, making himself one of the most underrated players in the NHL. He did all this while earning himself his second All-Star Game nomination.

Keller is Just Getting Started

Don’t worry, Keller is just getting started. He’s recorded 276 career points on 103 goals and 173 assists in just 379 games so far. He’s also only 24 years of age. If this season’s continued success and pace are a sign of what’s to come, then the Coyotes may find themselves with a new franchise leader in points, goals, and assists. Just five years ago, experts debated his ability to work out his kinks and become a stable two-way forward.

Keller has proven just that and more. He currently sits eighth all-time in points in franchise history, with the possibility of passing Keith Yandle and Martin Hanzal before the end of the season. He also sits only 26 goals behind former defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson for fifth all-time in goals, and he very well could end up passing him by the end of 2022-23, too.

If Keller can stay healthy, the Coyotes may find themselves with a new franchise great in the near future. Coyotes legend Shane Doan laid the groundwork for this franchise and what they could accomplish, and Keller is building upon it and ushering in the next era.

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