12:30pm: The Coyotes have announced that Keller underwent surgery to repair a broken leg and is expected to make a full recovery. He will be out for four to six months, however, meaning training camp is certainly in doubt.
8:50am: It was some scary moments in Arizona last night, as Coyotes forward Clayton Keller was stretchered off the ice after crashing hard into the boards. His leg, which was awkwardly pinned behind his body on the fall, was obviously injured, but it wasn’t clear exactly what the extent of the injury was. The Coyotes issued a press release indicating that Keller had been moved to a local hospital, and this morning he revealed that his season is over.
Want to thank my teammates, the fans, and medical personnel for the love and support last night! Unfortunately the season’s over for me, but I’m resting comfortably at the hospital in good spirits. I will be back better than ever for day 1 next season!!!!
With his season over, Keller will miss a chance to set a career-high in points, and finish with 63 in 67 games. The 23-year-old forward already did hit a career-high in goals with 28 and was averaging more than 20 minutes a night for the rebuilding club. In fact, it’s been quite a renaissance for a player who hadn’t broken the 50-point mark in any of the previous three seasons. There was starting to be some concern that Keller would never get back to the levels he showed as a rookie but this year proved he can still be a top-end offensive player.
Unfortunately, all that work will be put aside as he faces a long rehab process. When he eventually returns, the Coyotes will be playing at a different rink–Arizona State University–and will likely have a much different team. Players like Phil Kessel and Anton Stralman are pending unrestricted free agents, names like Jakob Chychrun are still on the trade block, and general manager Bill Armstrong is still obviously looking to strip down the roster to the studs, before rebuilding it.
Keller, one of the only players signed long-term in Arizona, is under contract through 2027-28 and might even have been considered a trade chip himself this offseason under normal circumstances. An injury like this could complicate that situation, though it is still not clear what kind of recovery timeline he faces.