I appreciated all of the feedback and votes from the first blog and look forward to reading more of your comments as we move forward.
Today we move onto the Arizona Coyotes. Here is the list and some thoughts from HockeyBuzz reader Dahlmanyotes.
ARIZONA COYOTES PROTECTION LIST
Clayton Keller - LW
Phil Kessel - RW
Christian Dvorak - C
Conor Garland - RW
Nick Schmaltz - LW
Lawson Crouse - LW
Christian Fischer - RW
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - LD
Jakob Chychrun - RD
Kyle Capobianco - LD
With so much changing, it is tough to predict who will still be around this time next year. But one thing is for sure, the Coyotes have plenty of protection spots to cover any of their valuable assets.
Notable exposures include Stepan, Raanta, Goligoski, Hjalmarsson and Demers. All are on expiring contracts however and if any were resigned during the season, they likely take Fischer’s spot on the protection list.
In the end I have no concerns about the Coyotes losing anyone that the truly value, so it should be another bottom 6 option like Pitlick that gets chosen.
The Coyotes could consider exposing a contract that they wish to get away from, like Schmaltz/Chychrun/Dvorak/Keller, however I think there is enough value in those players worth protecting either to keep in the core, or sell via a trade.
Thank you so much Dahlmanyotes!
Looking at this protection list, there are a couple of things that will need to change, prior to the expansion draft. Dahlmanyotes list was done 100% correctly but currently the Coyotes have not met the requirement of leaving a defenseman unprotected who is signed through the 21/22 season and will have played 40+ games. Goligoski, Hjalmarsson, Demers, Oesterle, and Lyubushkin are all UFA after this season. Someone will need to be reupped to meet the necessary requirements.
Assuming some of these players are extended, here are the names that interest me.
Derek Stepan: There may be mild interest in Stepan but considering he is a free agent next summer and coming off a career worst season where he posted only 28 points in 70 games, I would stay away.
Tyler Pitlick: Not a fancy player but a good bottom six forward capable of putting up at least 8-12 goals a season.
Alex Goligoski: Aged veteran but still able to produce solid offensive numbers. Produced 32 points in 70 games on a very weak Coyotes team. 11 of his 32 points came on the PP.
Antti Raanta: 31 year old goalie, who has shown he can not only be a legit starter, but potentially a top 10 goalie in this league. Injuries have been his biggest issue throughout his career. He is a free agent at the end of this season.
Adin Hill: 24 year old goaltending prospect who has appeared in 30 NHL games. Posted a 0.918 SV% in 13 games last season with the Coyotes. An RFA at the end of this season.
There are currently too many unknown's around the Coyotes aging and UFA defense to desire to make any picks there. Tyler Pitlick checks some boxes as a role player but at the end of the day I am looking for players with the biggest upside and Adin Hill fits that bill.
At 24 years old, Hill still should not be close to hitting his peak and in a limited opportunity he has shown some high end skill. Last season, Adin Hill played 524 minutes at even strength. Looking at the 66 goalies who played at least 500 minutes at 5 on 5, Hill ranked 4th with a SV% of 0.937%. Only Khudobin, Driedger, and Rask posted higher numbers. Hill likely is not ready for starter duties for at least another couple of years but he is an excellent backup option with high end potential.
A quick reminder with this lineup, I am slotting players in not where I expect them to play, but more as an overall depth chart. Someone like Hill will get moved down as more experienced goaltenders are drafted.