The Arizona Coyotes gave one young player a chance at the NHL today, and now have inked another prospect to an entry-level contract. Pierre-Olivier Joseph has signed his three-year entry-level deal, less than a year after being the 23rd-overall selection at the 2017 Entry Draft.
Joseph was ranked all over lists heading into the draft last June, without a consensus on where he’d be selected. That was mostly because of his slight frame, as he weighs in at just 161-lbs despite being 6’2″. That didn’t scare off the Coyotes, who recognized his shutdown potential even as he was relied upon for offense just as much as defense on the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL. That offense hasn’t gone away in junior—he has 21 points in 23 games this season—but Joseph’s ceiling will rely on his defensive game at the next level.
He’ll likely need a few years to continue to fill out and gain strength, but there are all the tools there to be a successful NHL defender. With other young blueliners like Jakob Chychrun, Kyle Capobianco, Filip Westerlund and Cam Dineen in the mix, the Coyotes are building themselves quite the pipeline of talent. If they hit on project players like Joseph, they could be in for a lot of success.