This weekend, the Arizona Coyotes will have their third Throwback Night in the last two seasons when they take on the St. Louis Blues. The black Kachina jerseys that the Coyotes wear on these occasions have been good luck so far as Arizona is 2-0 on Throwback Nights, including a 2-1 overtime win against Calgary on November 27. While the Coyotes are preparing to honor their past once again, there is a lot to look for in Arizona’s future. Parts of that future are already playing in the desert this season and there is even more exciting talent on the horizon.
The Future Is Here
After leading all NHL defensemen in goals last season with 23, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is among the best defensemen at scoring again this year. His power-play goal during Arizona’s 6-2 rout of Montreal on Monday gives the Swedish defensemen 17 goals for this campaign, putting him second in the league for defenseman behind San Jose’s Brent Burns. With 26 games left, there is a strong possibility that Ekman-Larsson eclipses his goal total from last year, which would also set a franchise record for defenseman goals in a season.
Anthony Duclair and Max Domi have also been a big offensive boost for the Coyotes this year. Duclair is third on the team with 16 goals, while Domi Is tied with Mikkel Boedker for fourth with 13. This is a drastic improvement compared to last season, when the most goals scored by an Arizona forward was Sam Gagner’s 15. With Domi and Duclair up front and Ekman-Larsson on the point, the core of Arizona’s bright future is starting to come together.
More to Come
In the OHL, two of the league’s top five scorers are Coyotes prospects. After putting up 109 points last season with the London Knights, Christian Dvorak is well on his way to shattering that mark this year. Dvorak has 96 points in 45 games with the Knights and his 42 goals leads the OHL. Meanwhile, Dylan Strome has been having another stellar season with the Erie Otters. Strome leads the Otters with 82 points and has picked up points in nine of his last 11 games.
With injuries sidelining Martin Hanzal for a portion of the season and Antoine Vermette having a down year with just 22 points in 50 games, the center position has been a concern for the Coyotes this year. These woes will be a distant memory if both Dvorak and Strome can continue playing like they have in the OHL when they reach the pros in the next year or two.
Charles Woodall-Pike is a journalist who writes about the Arizona Coyotes for The Hockey Writers.