While many would be quick to call Clayton Keller the Arizona Coyotes’ best young player, his teammate has quietly taken up the mantle of being the franchise’s all-time best young goal-scorer. AZSports’ Craig Morgan noted last night that Brendan Perlini’s 28th career goal in his 100th NHL game is most among ’Yotes alums in their first 100 games. Perlini passed up Peter Mueller, who had 27 in 100, a player who burned bright, but burned out young and was out of the NHL after his first five seasons. Arizona surely hopes that Perlini has more longevity and would especially be excited if he kept up his current level of play, having scored a goal in four straight games. Meanwhile, Keller surely has his eye on soon taking Perlini’s title; the 19-year-old has 14 goals through his first 53 games, so he’ll have to pick up the pace this season into next season.
- Morgan was also the first to announce that Brad Richardson would not return to last night’s game after suffering an upper-body injury. There has been no update on Richardson’s status yet, but it would be no surprise if the veteran forward is out of the lineup for a substantial amount of time yet again. Richardson has had a tough go of it lately, missing six games due to injury this year after missing a whopping 66 games last year. Richardson has also struggled to produce with only nine points through 44 games. Nevertheless, the Coyotes are surely hoping that Richardson makes a speedy recovery with the NHL Trade Deadline fast approaching. With so few pending unrestricted free agents on the roster – Richardson, Antti Raanta, Luke Schenn, Zac Rinaldo – GM John Chayka would like to be able to move out as many as possible, unless his plan is make some larger deals involving his plethora of younger players.
- In reality, the 2017-18 has long been over for the Coyotes and their next event of note is the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Though the lottery could throw a wrench in their plans, Arizona is in the best position of any team to land the prize of the draft, Swedish phenom Rasmus Dahlin. TSN’s Bob McKenzie released his Mid-Season Draft Rankings today, in which he calls this the “Rasmus Dahlin draft” and makes of note of consensus that no player has a chance to go first overall besides the dynamic defenseman. With some doubt over the future of All-Star Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Chayka would like nothing more than to select a potential replacement in Dahlin. At the very least, the worst record in the NHL will guarantee the Coyotes a top-four pick and, as McKenzie specifies, one of the trio of forwards that make up the next tier of elite prospects behind Dahlin – Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina, and Brady Tkachuk.