NHL Power Rankings Week One: Capitals, Lightning, Predators, And Ducks Are Favorites

2 of 31

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: #30 – Arizona Coyotes

There is no easy way to say this. The Arizona Coyotes are going to be TERRIBLE this season. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be fun to watch. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a legitimate Norris Trophy Candidate. The Coyotes lack top four defensive depth. That requires them to rely on Larsson to play during pretty much all situations. Larsson flourishes despite facing tough situations and opponents.

STRENGTHS: I’ve already mentioned Larsson. He’s the kind of guy that you can build a franchise around. Shane Doan is retiring eventually. Doan has personified the Coyotes for so long. Larsson is ready to step in when Doan retires. I can’t stress how important he is to the Coyotes. They’re in good hands.

The Coyotes have some other exciting young players. Max Domi has the potential to be the next Milan Lucic. He’s the rare type of player who can score on you AND kick your butt. Players like Tom Wilson have proven that it’s tough to balance the scoring and the butt kicking. Domi’s a special talent and it should be fun seeing him grow. They also have Anthony Duclair. They got him in the Keith Yandle trade. Duclair is a very skilled forward who will likely play with Domi. Arizona is handing the kids the keys to the franchise.

RELATED: Previewing The Coyotes

WEAKNESSES: They lack elite talent in the NHL. They have some very impressive prospects, but they’re not NHL ready. Martin Hanzal is a good forward who the Coyotes ask to do too much. He’d be much better off in a role with less responsibility. They also have a mediocre expensive goaltender in Mike Smith. Their goaltending, in particular, doesn’t jump out at you. Backup Anders Lindback is certainly intriguing, though.

OUTLOOK: The best case scenario involves local product Auston Matthews being drafted first overall by the Coyotes in June. The worst case scenario involves them not getting a top five pick. This season is about development. It’s not about winning. The Coyotes seem to know what they’re doing. They’ll be better for it in the long run.

Next: #29