Random NHL Teams, Random NHL Thoughts
The NHL preseason has begun which means we are one step closer to opening night. There’s plenty of storylines and news to follow going into this season, but I found myself looking into two often overlooked franchises. Arizona and Columbus. They may not be the sexiest teams in the
league but these rosters are starting to boast some serious promising talent.
Good Days Ahead for Arizona?
The Arizona Coyotes haven’t had much go for them over the years. From rumors of relocation to constant rebuilding, the fans haven’t had much to lean on. But brighter days may be ahead for this fan base. The Coyotes find themselves with two talented young players that they can potentially build around. Clayton Keller and Logan Cooley. Now I know Cooley hasn’t had a season in the NHL yet like Keller has but if the recent highlight reel goal against the Kings is any indication of this kid’s talent, the Coyotes may have struck gold.
Logan Cooley was the number 3 overall pick back in 2022 and was a top American player in the class. Cooley tallied 60 points in his freshman season at the University of Minnesota and no doubt will be looked upon to replicate that scoring in the NHL. Cooley has a real shot of being a Calder finalist this season and should help bring this Arizona Coyotes franchise back to
Let’s not forget about Clayton Keller though. The new kid on the block, Logan Cooley, will surely bring some excitement to this fanbase but the already established Coyotes star is going to look to build on a fantastic season last year. Keller recorded 86 points in 82 games in the 2022-23 season with 37 goals. The 25 year old was drafted in 2016 at 7th overall and has now exploded onto the scene. An all around talented player, Keller lights the lamp and is a clear playmaker, tallying 49 assists last year. 2022-23 isn’t even the first great season for Clayton Keller. He finished the 2021-22 season with 63 points in 67 games (28 goals). Keller increased his point
total by 23 last season with 15 more games. Clearly the Coyotes star has found his rhythm and the 2021-22 season was no fluke at all. What will Keller end with this year? No doubt another high scoring stat line.
The Coyotes may be building a new arena, playing in a college rink and still molding together a roster for the future but it seems very likely that the future will be bright.
What About the Blue Jackets?
Another under the radar team with plenty to talk about is the Columbus Blue Jackets. The season hasn’t even begun yet and the franchise was marred with controversy after the departure of Head Coach Mike Babcock, who never even got to coach a single game. Clearly the right choice was to axe Babcock but why bring him on in the first place? Jackets fans can only hope that their front office gets their stuff together because the team itself, like the Coyotes,
has a real shot of morphing into a playoff team in the next few years.
It all starts with the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft, Adam Fantilli. This kid is going to be something special in Columbus. Last year at Michigan, Fantilli notched 65 points in 36 games. At just 18 years old, Adam Fantilli will have a lot of pressure on him this season. It’s a good thing he will have vets like Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine to help him get acclimated.
Looking at how the team has added to the organization, the Blue Jackets made some moves in the offseason by strengthening up their D corps. The acquisitions of Damon Severson and Ivan Provorov will surely help stabilize the defense this year and with the previously mentioned Johnny Hockey and Patrik Laine, along with Boone Jenner putting up points; the Blue Jackets
may be quicker to a revitalization then many may think. And let’s not forget about 20 year old Kent Johnson. With 40 points in 79 games last season, the 5th overall selection in the 2021 draft will be looking to take another step forward in his young career. If this young player can also develop for Columbus, they may have a pretty talented roster on their hands.
It may not be this year, may not even be next year; but the Coyotes and Blue Jackets, both trying to build that special roster to get them back to the postseason, have promising young talent that just may end up doing it.
This is an article written by Dylan "Mogo" Montgomery
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