The Arizona Coyotes spring Top 20 was chock-full of players excelling in the junior hockey ranks, with a few young pros added in for good measure. Many of the honorable mentions – the players just outside the Top 20 – are playing college hockey or pro hockey in Europe. A few long-term projects may not pan out as professional players, but others are on track for a role with the Coyotes if all goes well. With playoffs right ahead, here is a look at what the college and European group has accomplished in 2015-16 so far.
The Arizona Coyotes have typically drafted out of the junior ranks early in drafts, then used picks later in the draft to add depth. Notable NCAA prospects Connor Clifton, Hunter Fejes, Rhett Holland, and Zac Larraza will finish off their campaigns with playoff appearances. Meanwhile, Jared Fiegl closed out his season with a murmur and Jedd Soleway has at least one weekend of hockey left to develop.
The Arizona Coyotes have actively addressed the composition of their prospect pool since the 2013-14 trade deadline. A year ago, there was a logjam of talented defensemen throughout their pipeline. At the deadline, general manager Dave Maloney traded David Rundblad to the Chicago Blackhawks. At the 2014 NHL Draft, the Coyotes grabbed seven forwards while only selecting two defensemen, both in the late rounds.
The Arizona Coyotes head into training camp with some key roster spots available. With Mike Ribeiro having left town, Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson and Lucas Lessio will all vie for the vacancy in Arizona’s top nine forwards. Also, Brandon Gormley appears ready to finally wrestle away an NHL roster spot from the fading veterans at the bottom of Arizona’s depth chart like David Schlemko.