Calder Contender – Clayton Keller

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The kids are firing this preseason, there’s no denying that. Here are the stats to back them up.

Name Goals Assists Points
Keller 3 5 8
Yamamoto 5 2 7
Boeser 4 3 7
Hischier 4 3 7
Barzal 3 4 7
Hunt 1 5 6

But Keller has been playing on another level for the pre-season. Watching any of his clips in college or in the pre-season is indicative of his skill, timing and versatility on the ice.

Keller was the 7th pick in the 2016 draft and spent most of his time last year playing for the Boston University Terriers where he led the team in scoring with 45 points. That production earned the Tim Taylor Award for the 2016-17 season, which is given to the top Freshman in NCAA hockey. With Derek Stepan, Christian Dvorak, and Dylan Strome playing down the middle in Arizona, Keller may end up playing on the wing just to ensure he plays on a scoring line. Either way, Keller should get a keen opportunity to produce. He could lead all rookies in scoring.

Max Domi stated mid training camp that the young rookie is expected to have a breakout season in the NHL. With potential line mates in Max Domi and Derek Stepan, Keller will have skilled line-mates to pass and play off the puck to.

He also is guaranteed time on the PP and will have the attention of Coyotes management to jump start his development.

Keller, 5-10, 175 pounds, posted 21 goals and 45 points in 31 games for Boston University last season. He creates offense by darting in and out of traffic, much like Kane does, and utilizes positioning and quick hands to make plays.While it may seem very early to bank on his Calder ascension, Keller has the makings to be an elite full time NHLer this season. He has a huge opportunity with Arizona, a young team with a lot of potential. Keller has a blank cheque down in the desert. He honestly has the making and potential to do whatever he wants with the puck, and skilled lines around him to thrive.

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