Arizona: Top 10 Prospects

TXHT begins another series on the top 10 prospects in each teams system. This will be alternating alongside the Impact on Hockey series. This series will take an in-depth look at the top 10 prospects in each system and give a little insight into the player they are and potentially could become.

10. Goaltender – Aiden Hill

Shoots L
Born May 11, 1996 — Comox, BC
Height 6.06 — Weight 202 [198 cm/92 kg]
Drafted by Arizona Coyotes- round 3 #76 overall 2015 NHL Entry Draft

Hill in 21 games this season with the Tucson Roadrunners carries solid numbers. Posting a 2.49 GAA and a .911 Save % – Which is pretty stellar considering he is playing for one of the most fantastic farm teams. Hill was a called up a few times this season with a rash of injuries occurring and once again posted some good numbers – 7-5-0 with a 2.76GAA and 901 Save %. Which is less than his AHL number but most goalies lately aren’t seeming to find their place in the NHL until between the ages of 27-29. Arizona owns a goalie right now that didn’t start until he was 29 – Antti Raanta – so at the age of 22 this kid has all the tools, including athleticism and great composure.

9. Goaltender – Merrick Madsen

Shoots L
Born Aug 22 1995 — Acton, CA
Height 6.05 — Weight 190
Drafted by Philadelphia Flyers- round 6 #162 overall 2013 NHL Entry Draft

Madsen doesn’t have the shot at the top that Hill does, he still is showing to be an excellent prospect. Playing for Havard of the NCAA, He had a 2.27 GAA and .918 save percentage, which is very nice numbers.

Madsen will get his shot at the pro level as he joins the Tucson Roadrunners. Madsen deserves a look. He’s big enough (6’5″) which is the modern mold, and with some good development, he could develop in a nice Goaltender.

8. Left Wing – Brayden Burke
Shoots L
Born Jan 1, 1997 — Edmonton, ALTA
Height 5.10 — Weight 170

Burke is an undrafted 22-year-old with some amazing offensive upside. So far in his first 53 games with Tucson,  Burke has amassed 11 goals and 14 assists for 24 points. He hasn’t had very many minutes, especially on the powerplay. But look for him to get some more ice-time in the 2019/2020 season, Burke may even get a look at the pro level given his age.

7. Defense – Jordan Gross

Shoots R
Born May 9, 1995 — Maple Grove, MN
Height 5.10 — Weight 195

Gross, another NCAA player who is a bit of an overager. Clocked in at 22 years old, Gross played a pivotal goal-scoring role from the defense, scoring 10 goals and 20 assists in 40 games. He was known for his special team prowess, scoring the majority of his points there.

Gross came into this season expecting a bigger role and he hasn’t disappointed. In 52 games this year with the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL, Gross has put together 5 goals and 16 assists. Gross has the ability to QB the powerplay, as well as open up ice for teammates on 5 on 5. Don’t be shocked if you see him in Arizona in the 2019/2020 season.

6. Right Wing – Conor Garland

Shoots R
Born Mar 11, 1996 — Scituate, MA
Height 5.10 — Weight 165 
Drafted by Arizona Coyotes – round 5 #123 overall 2015 NHL Entry Draft
Garland had back to back 120 point seasons in the Canadian Juniors. Garland is one of these weird breeds of players, the AHL doesn’t seem to suit him. Coming in from the juniors a playmaker, he just hasn’t been able to find it in the AHL. But with a rash of injuries in Arizona, they called up the 22-year-old and boy has been a scoring machine. Getting 4th line minutes as the Coyotes try to make the playoffs Garland has 12 goals and 3 assists in 39 games. But his defensive game, physical game and just overall game has looked leaps above what has been expected. Fun player to watch, especially when he forechecks.
5. Center – Tyler Steenbergen
Shoots R
Born Jan 7, 1998 — Sylvan Lake, ALTA 
Height 5.10 — Weight 188
Drafted by Arizona Coyotes– round 5 #128 overall 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Steenbergen is a lot of the same things as Brayden Burke – who was discussed earlier – but younger. After scoring 90 points last season, he followed it up with a 102 point debut. He was a Second-Team All-Star in the WHL and scored the Championship winning goal for Canada at the U20 World Juniors.
Don’t expect to see Steenbergen in the minors long. He does everything right, plays a great 2-way game, good faceoff man, and plays a bigger game than his stature suggests.
4. Defense – Kyle Capobianco
Shoots L
Born Aug 13 1997 — Mississauga, ONT
Height 6.01 — Weight 196
Drafted by Arizona Coyotes– round 3 #63 overall 2015 NHL Entry Draft

Capobianco is probably the most intriguing of all the defencemen in Arizona’s system.Capobianco is a more rigid two-way presence and is better defensively than a lot of the guys in the Coyotes system. He was 38th in rookies in scoring and fourth in rookie defensemen in the AHL. But Capobianco plays with an edge and some grit to his game. Most project him as a potential partner for Oliver-Ekman Larsson. At least a top 4 guy for sure.

 

3. Center – Barrett Hayton

Shoots L
Born Jun 9, 2000 — Peterborough, ONT
Height 6.01 — Weight 191 [185 cm/87 kg]
Drafted by Arizona Coyotes – round 1 #5 overall 2018 NHL Entry Draft
Hayton was drafted 5th overall by the Coyotes for potential. 0.95 point per game player in the OHL – which is not great for a 5th overall pick. But what set Hayton apart was he was playing on a fantastic team in a depth role for the majority of the season – under a point per game isn’t so big then. The expectation is with a bigger role he would have been able to contribute more and as of right now he’s proving it to be true. Hayton so far in 37 games is averaging over a point per game – 22 goals 38 assists for 60 points.
Hayton is still a diamond in the rough, but Arizona is ready to be patient and develop him. Should be at least a solid top 9 player, at his peak could be top 2 centermen.
2. Defense – Pierre-Olivier Joseph
Shoots L
Born Jul 1, 1999 — Chambly, PQ
Height 6.02 — Weight 168 
Drafted by Arizona Coyotes– round 1 #23 overall 2017 NHL Entry Draft
Another defenceman in the Coyotes pool. Joseph is built in the mold of someone like Hampus Lindholm – a mobile defensive defenseman who can play shutdown and throw a few points in here and there. He’s gonna carry a heavy defensive load and penalty kill a lot. Which makes for a great partner for all their offensive-minded defencemen.
1. Right Wing – Nick Merkley
Shoots L
Born May 23, 1997 — Calgary, ALTA
Height 5.10 — Weight 194 
Drafted by Arizona Coyotes– round 1 #30 overall 2015 NHL Entry Draft
Merkley has come along way from when he was drafted, He has the potential to be a top line winger but scoring was lacking at the beginning. But last season in Tuscan he seemed to turn a corner his defensive game was elevated, he showed flashes of offensive prowess and ended the season a point per game player. Look for Merkley to get some serious chances to become a top line winger in Arizona in the near future.

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