It’s no secret that the Arizona Coyotes are in full rebuild mode as they look towards the future, and hopefully bringing a Stanley Cup to the state of Arizona. While the next three to four years look to be brutal for the team and fanbase, the Coyotes are relying on their young core and prospects to help create a bright future for the franchise.
From guys like Dylan Strome, Nick Merkley, Mikkel Boedker, Henrik Samuelsson, Max Domi, Jakob Chychrun, Clayton Keller, and Oliver-Ekman Larsson, the Coyotes have had their fair share of top prospects who at one point or another donned a Coyotes jersey. While some had greater success than others, below are the top ten prospects in the Coyotes’ system as of today.
10.) Josh Doan
Rounding out at number ten on this list is forward Josh Doan. Drafted in the second round, 37th overall, the Coyotes selected the son of franchise leader and great Shane Doan. Viewed as a consistent scoring threat with superb passing skills, he rebounded from a shaky 2019-20 season with the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel where he recorded 14 points in 45 games with an astonishing 31 goals and 39 assists for 70 points in 53 games in 2020-21.
Doan still has a ways to go before he dons the kachina, but fans will have a chance to catch a glimpse as he’s committed to play for Arizona State this upcoming season. Coyotes fans should be excited at the idea of seeing another Doan in a Coyotes sweater down the line.
9.) John Farinacci
The Coyotes in 2019 used their 76th overall pick in the third round to select Harvard center John Farinacci. He backed up the Coyotes’ decision to select him 76th overall by recording 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 31 games as a freshman at Harvard during the 2019-20 season. In addition, he added eight points in seven games this past season for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League, and seven points in seven games for team USA at the World Junior Championship U20 tournament.
Unfortunately for Farinacci, no Ivy League school held a hockey season this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic which prevented him from building on his successful freshmen season. Overall he possesses a lethal shot and quick release which is his best assist in addition to being a well rounded two-way player. Expect the Coyotes to sign him to an entry level contract sometime soon as he could prove to be a valuable prospect down the line.
8.) Liam Kirk
Liam Kirk made history in 2018 after being selected 189th overall in the seventh round as the first British born and raised player to be drafted in the NHL. After being drafted, Kirk would spend the next two years in the Ontario Hockey League with the Peterborough Petes racking up an impressive 97 points in 110 games before departing for the Sheffield Steelers of the EIHL and subsequently Hanhals IF of the HockeyEttan league in Sweden this past season recording a combined 30 points in 26 games between both clubs.
Kirk also dominated in this past year’s World Championships recording seven points in seven games, which tied him for the lead. Scouts have spoken very highly of him about his ability to score goals with relative ease. The Coyotes are very high on his potential, signing him in June to a three-year entry level contract. He is likely to start the season with the Roadrunners for further conditioning, but with time could prove to be a dominant seventh round pick.
7.) Matias Maccelli
With the 98th overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft the Coyotes selected what many believed could be a fourth-round steal of pick in forward Matias Maccelli. After being picked, he left the United States Hockey League and the Dubuque Fighting Saints to go back to Finland to play for Ilves in Liiga. With Ilves, he became a point-per-game player, before ultimately slowing down.
He would continue to flash success at the World Juniors, proving to be a big part of Finland’s team, who lost in the bronze medal game. Many experts have praised Maccelli for his high-end skill and vision which could result in him being a top-two line player for the Coyotes down the road. Expect the young Finn to spend a few seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL) starting this year to continue to build and grow his game, but don’t be surprised at all if he ends up being a solid role player for the Coyotes in the future.
6.) Ivan Prosvetov
Drafted in 2018 in the fourth round, Prosvetov was viewed as the future franchise goalie for the Arizona Coyotes behind Kuemper, Raanta, and Hill. After leaving Russia, the young netminder made stops in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), United States Hockey League (USHL), OHL, ECHL, and AHL in his path to becoming a NHL starting goalie. He had early flashes of success in his young career, especially in the NAHL in 2016-17, and also with Rapid City of the ECHL during the 2019-20 season, where he recorded a save-percentage of .930.
With the departures of Darcy Kuemper, Antti Raanta, and Adin Hill this offseason, it’s clearer than ever that Prosvetov is the goalie of the future, and his time is coming sooner, rather than later. In two games so far in his NHL career, he has struggled to find his place, and hopefully with another season or two of grooming in the AHL, he can be an NHL regular in no time.
5.) Jan Jenik
Jan Jenik made his debut in the team’s final two games against the San Jose Sharks after originally being selected 65th overall in the second round of the 2018 NHL draft. In those two games, he recorded two goals and zero assists. For the most part he has spent the majority of his pro career so far in the AHL, where he registered 14 points in 29 games last season.
Jenik lacks offense at times, which the team hopes he can recapture after a breakout year in the OHL for Hamilton in the 2019-20 season. He brings physicality, which the Coyotes will need to help protect guys like Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz, and hopefully with another year in the AHL this upcoming season he can be a mainstay on the roster for years to come.
4.) Connor Timmins
Acquired during the offseason from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Darcy Kuemper and draft picks, Connor Timmins is a young defensemen who was once considered a premium prospect before losing a season and a half to injuries. Upon his return, he made a strong debut in the AHL with the Colorado Eagles, posting 27 points in 40 games in 2019-20 before making the jump to the NHL this past season, where he skated in 31 regular season and 10 post-season games.
Timmins has a lot of bright spots still, and is very much a top defensive prospect who hopefully can compete for a top defense pairing spot this upcoming season after playing behind a stacked defense core in Colorado. Expect his name to be mentioned a lot this upcoming season.
3.) Barrett Hayton
Hayton was drafted fifth overall by former general manager John Chayka in 2018, despite many believing he was taken too early in the draft. Since being drafted, Hayton hasn’t blossomed into the player the Coyotes thought he would become, only registering three goals and four assists in 34 games over the past two seasons. Part of the problem has been the Coyotes’ inability to use him correctly, as he’s been a scratch for most of short NHL career so far.
Because of this, Hayton has spent parts of the past two seasons in the AHL with Tucson, where he’s recorded seven goals and eight assists in 31 games. While he has a lot of upside to his game, he steal needs to add some weight if he wants to find a solid role with the team. Expect him to be a regular on the team this season as they tank for potential first overall pick Shane Wright.
2.) Victor Soderstrom
After being drafted 11th overall by Arizona in 2019, the 6-foot Swedish defenseman spent two seasons developing in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) over in Europe with Brynas. Upon making the transition over to North America and arriving in Arizona, Soderstrom made his debut in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners before being called up for the Coyotes final few games, where he recorded a goal and an assist in four NHL games.
Soderstrom has been scouted as having a very sharp hockey IQ, in addition to being an excellent skater who can move the puck very well at the point. Experts relate his play style to former NHL and Swedish defenseman Nick Lidstrom. With the departure of fellow Swede Oliver Ekman-Larsson to Vancouver, he will look to fill the void left in his spot. He’s likely a lock on the team’s opening night roster, and should have plenty of opportunity to become an NHL regular this season.
1.) Dylan Guenther
It’s without question, that the Coyotes’ top prospect in their system is forward Dylan Guenther. Coming in at 6-foot-2 and 175 lbs, the Coyotes snagged what many experts called the steal of the draft when they picked Guenther with the ninth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Viewed as the best shooter in the draft, Guenther quickly showcased his elite skill and quick play making abilities in three years with the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings.
Guenther has continued to wow fans and experts especially over the past week in the team’s rookie face-off tournament, held in Arizona where he showcased his quick shot and elite skills against Vegas, Los Angeles, and Anaheim. Expect Guenther to score a lot of goals at the NHL level.
The Coyotes have plenty of other intriguing prospects to keep an eye on such as, Ty Emberson, Cameron Crotty, Ilya Fedotov, Ben McCartney, Aku Raty, and Mike Callahan who all could be a big part of the team down the road. One thing is for certain, their future looks bright, and with the possibility of selecting Shane Wright and Connor Bedard in the next two years’ drafts, the Coyotes hope to be the real deal sooner, rather than later.
Mr. Evans is originally from Greenville, SC where he currently resides. Mr. Evans has been involved in hockey for the past 16 years now, following the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues. During his free time, Mr. Evans enjoys spending time with his family and girlfriend as well as being up in the mountains or taking pictures. Prior to joining The Hockey Writers, Mr. Evans previously worked for The Puck Authority, covering the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. You can find Mr. Evans on Twitter at @HaynesPEvans.